How Important Is ICT In the Midst of COVID-19?

The uncommon twist the world is currently experiencing at the hands of the new coronavirus, COVID-19 has brought to the fore an immediate reality, the reality that ICT is imperative for now and the future.

Chen Lei, President of Huawei Southern Africa Region iterated in a statement made recently, that countries must adopt ICT as they prepare for the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Information, Communication and Technology isn’t luxury anymore. It is now of strategic importance.

ICT has so far played a critical role in bringing people together while social distancing is being practised across the world, the Head of Information Technology (IT) at Ericsson Middle East, Roula Tayan has said.

According to him, more than ever, information, unified collaboration, and telecommunication including mobile networks form a critical backbone that enables families, health workers, public safety officials, education institutions and critical businesses to stay connected during this global crisis.

What Can We Learn from The Republic of Korea?

ICT and Social Distancing

The Korean government started by implementing several ICT measures to encourage social distancing. Since reporting an index case, the Korean government opened a website that provides information about companies providing solutions for remote working, education, and other products and palliatives.

ICT and Speedy Testing

Leveraging on Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a significant role in supporting researchers and healthcare professionals are able to run quick diagnostics on patients with severe symptoms.

The establishment of a “Walk-Thru” testing station allows quick collection of samples as subjects walk through the station with minimal contact.

ICT and Quick Access to Information

Key information such as the accumulated count by region and the number of tests performed is summarized and provided as visualization data on the main page of the website.

Information on providing overseas travel history, finding COVID-19 screening centres, early-detecting of patients, using epidemiologic surveys and isolating the close contacts of a patient is also provided accordingly.

Real-time data of publicly-distributed face masks are provided to people through mobile applications and web services, reducing confusion and inconvenience while raising distribution efficiency.

In summary,

  • Mobile devices are being used to support early testing and contact tracing.
  • Advanced ICTs were particularly useful in spreading key emergency information and helping to maintain extensive social distancing.
  • Updated information and testing results were published on national and local government websites.

The government of Nigeria has begun research of indigenous start-ups in the ICT industry and how to provide funds for them to produce locally-relevant technology solutions that can appropriately address local challenges. Read all about it here.

Read also: Key Information on COVID-19 Testing, Screening and Available Labs

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