India gets techno savvy to fight COVID-19 pandemic
With the advent of the novel Coronavirus pandemic, the Indian government on March 24 announced a 21-day lockdown in the country. Amid the lockdown to fight the COVID-19 outbreak, there has been an exponential rise in the use of technology not only by the citizens but by the government as well. With the use of technological advancement, the administration is attempting new ways to tackle the health crisis.
Over the past few weeks, both the Central and state government have launched multiple mobile applications to help the citizens track the developments and efforts made to contain the virus. One of the most popular apps includes ‘AarogyaSetu’ launched by the Modi government on April 2. The app allows the user to identify people infected with COVID-19 near them and ensure a risk self-assessment. Apps have been developed by state governments like Punjab and Maharashtra to monitor the citizens who have been home-quarantined in the wake of virus outbreak. Goa and Puducherry have launched apps which will help the user to self-diagnose Coronavirus symptoms.
Furthermore, state governments have started using drone technology for various purposes. While the police officers are using the drones to monitor the movement of citizens during the lockdown, health officials and civil workers are using the drones to spray disinfectants to sanitise high-risk areas. The Delhi government began its sanitation drive recently using Japan-based technologically-advanced machines. 60 machines, including 10 hi-tech Japanese machines, have been deployed to sanitise the high-risk areas in the national capital.
A number of tech startups are also working closely with the state and central government to provide support to the monitoring system and healthcare infrastructure. These startups are coming up with cutting-edge technology to solve the issues government is facing during the lockdown. Based in various states, these startups are helping the government with COVID-19 trackers, delivery through drones, cheaper ventilator modules, personal protective equipment (PPEs), disinfectants among other technology. The administration is also using AI-based technology, geo-mapping and CCTV surveillance of containment zones for better contactless functioning.
A large section of the population working in private and public sector firms are doing their jobs from home amid the lockdown. Teleconferencing apps like Zoom and House Party are helping them connect to their colleagues and continued productivity. Retails stores have gone digital to provide their customers with essential commodities in time of need.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on April 14, extended the Coronavirus lockdown by 19 days till May 3 in order to contain the unprecedented virus outbreak. The country recorded over 10,000 COVID-19 confirmed cases on Tuesday, while over 1,000 people have recovered from the disease.