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Digital push: Webinars by AIIMS doctors, app to trace possible contacts of COVID-19 patients

The webinar platform has been developed in tandem with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Written by Dipankar Ghose | New Delhi | Published: March 27, 2020 2:48:58 am
coronavirus, Coronavirus India Lockdown, covid 19, novel coronavirus, AIIMS doctors, AIIMS doctors Webinars, AIIMS Webinars, novel coronavirus, covid 19 india, covid 19 preparation, covid 19 vaccine, covid 19 testing The webinar platform has been developed in tandem with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. (File Photo/Representational purpose)

THE UNION government has developed a platform which will host webinars by AIIMS doctors for healthcare workers across the country, and an app that will trace the paths of COVID-19 positive patients, serving as a warning to possible contacts.

These, as well as chatboxes on Facebook and WhatsApp set up by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), are part of the digital push to fight the novel coronavirus.

The webinar platform has been developed in tandem with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. “Basically, the frontline health workers now face the biggest risk. Nurses and paramedics have to be aware of the dangers. Through AIIMS doctors, we have created a webinar series. We are putting it on Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp so nurses, paramedics, ASHA (accredited social health activist) workers, anganwadi workers should all be able to see. The webinar will be a daily thing,” said a senior government official.

“If it worsens, you may see a situation where in many families, a person will have to turn caregiver. Then there will be no MBBS degree or nursing degree that will apply… there will be customised content on YouTube — separate for doctors, nurses, anganwadi workers etc. We are involving the state governments because we need content in the regional languages also,” said the official.

Besides, on the lines of an app already functional in Singapore, the ministry has also worked on a contact path tracing app, tentatively called ‘Corona Kavach’.

“The app will be green initially. It will keep storing your location data, you will have to keep your Bluetooth on… The system knows who all were in a particular location within 3-5 metres. Suppose you were with me, and I test positive. The lab will enter my credentials. The information about my mobile number testing positive will be sent to the cloud. A signal will come to my app which will convert it to red,” said the official.

“Then, based on my entire location and Bluetooth data — only for the people who are red — the server will do some computation and find out who I was in close proximity with in the last 14 days. Their apps will turn yellow, and they will get an alert that they should go home, quarantine, and take care of themselves,” the official said.

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a WhatsApp phone number chatbot for information about COVID-19, officials are looking at upscaling it. “We are concentrating on giving the right information… and busting fake news,” said the official.

“You just have to send a ‘Hi’ to 9013151515, and we will reply in English and Hindi. We have activated a Gujarati version, created a Marathi version; Kerala and Karnataka are also coming on board… We are getting two more numbers — 9013252525 and 9013353535,” the official said.

The government is also setting up a portal to map the requirements faced by hospitals, and cross-referencing them with those who have offered to help with equipment. “The Health Ministry has set up a system which will capture what is required by various hospitals. There are people willing to offer that. We have created a portal where this mapping is happening,” said a MeitY official.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: Are smokers at high risk form coronavirus? | Can Vitamin-C prevent or cure coronavirus infection? | What exactly is community spread of coronavirus? | How long can the Covid-19 virus survive on a surface? | Amid the lockdown, what is allowed, what is prohibited?

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