How China has deployed technology to combat COVID-19

These systems have helped track people’s movements to see if they have come in contact with an infected person. It has also helped identify people.

How China has deployed technology to combat COVID-19
How China has deployed technology to combat COVID-19

How China has deployed technology to combat COVID-19

One of the most severely affected countries in the world, China has been able to significantly control the spread of the Novel Coronavirus and mitigate the effects of COVID-19 across the nation.

Thanks to China being a technological powerhouse, they have been able to use much technology across spectrums of disease control to reduce the effect and control further spread.

By deploying all possible resources, whether financial, technological, or human- China has done a remarkable job of controlling the virus and profiling the at-risk population and helping.

Countries across the world are looking up to China for their smart use of technology and resources to control the virus spread. Especially with a population like theirs, the task has been more than challenging, and China’s performance has been beyond commendable.

Here are a few technologies China has used to combat the pandemic:

Big Data: The Chinese Government has been using its access to public information to monitor the virus and its spread. Big Data has played an important role in helping with the creation of citizen profiles and dashboards. These systems have helped monitor people and their susceptibility to the virus. Big Data has been combined with several other technologies such as location tracking and facial recognition to create profiles and keep an eye on the masses.

These systems have helped track people’s movements to see if they have come in contact with an infected person. It has also helped identify people with facial recognition even with masks on. The government has been able to take infrared temperatures, track people, and create personalized dashboards to monitor individuals at scale with Big Data.

Facial Recognition: Many Chinese technology giants have come up with facial recognition technologies that help identify masked people. Data analytics combined with facial recognition has helped the Chinese government profile people, and predictive data analysis has helped them identify the population that could be at-risk or infected.

All major metropolitans in China have been equipped with facial recognition technology to identify people who are infected and who could be infected. There has also been a surge in the number of surveillance cameras to ensure that people in quarantine do not step out.

Artificial Intelligence: Medical professionals across China, have been using research-backed information to know more about the Novel Coronavirus. They have been using artificial intelligence in various models to understand the disease better and predict its spread.

AI systems have also made it possible for health professionals, hospitals, and organizations to effectively screen and test large populations with the help of infrared systems that can identify a change in the human body’s temperature. These systems have been installed at many public places and can screen up to 200 people per minute without disturbing movement and flow of people.

Autonomous Vehicles: At a point in time where there is a shortage of workforce for a good reason, autonomous vehicles have proven to be extremely useful for the delivery of essential services across cities. Especially for healthcare professionals, autonomous vehicles, and self-driving cars have been providing food and medication to a hospital in Beijing.

A company in China that works with autonomous vehicles has also started electric street cleaning to contribute and help. Autonomous vehicles of smaller size are being used to disinfect hospitals and even public places in some areas.

Drones: In severely affected areas, drones were used to transport essential supplies, medical equipment, and samples of potentially infected people. They played a major role in areas where time was of the essence, and human contact could cause possible damage. The transportation of medical samples through drones became an effective way to timely supply samples and prevent sample contamination.  

Drones were also used to spray disinfectants in the countryside, and some of them also carried QR codes to register health information of individuals and provide them with real-time information.

One of the primary uses of drones was to hover around cities and broadcast warnings. Some of their systems were equipped with facial recognition that helped identify people that were not wearing masks. These drones quite literally scolded people for being irresponsible.

Health Sensors and Apps: Over 200 Chinese cities used a health sensor system where people were color-coded. Based on the color assigned to them, they were either quarantined or allowed in public spaces. The system scanned millions of people every day and helped authorities identify people that were potential carriers of the virus. Combined with profiling done with big data, people were able to scan QR codes through an app for entry into public places like offices and banks.

Robotics: In China, Robots had become the frontline for combating the virus. Robots have been deployed in meal preparation for healthcare workers, disinfecting surfaces and hospital premises, vending essentials and hand sanitizers, and much more.

These smart machines were also deployed in healthcare facilities for thermal imaging and running tests across a spectrum of symptoms. There was a hospital in Wuhan where the staff was robots only.

Mass Surveillance: China also diligently deployed location intelligence to track the movement of people. Especially people who were quarantined were tracked through their mobile devices to see if they were stepping out. China’s systems were able to track people’s travel history, current locations, location history, and much more simply through their cell phones.

They used this data to identify people who were infected and whom all came in contact with an infected person.

Many countries across the globe have followed China’s footsteps in combating the virus. Countries now understand that the use of technology in an efficient manner is the only way out. This has been another landmark example where technology, data, and GIS have played a role in helping humanity.