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What Role is AI and Technology Playing in the Fight Against Covid-19?

With no effective antiviral therapy or vaccine currently available, the strategy for managing Covid-19 in October 2020 and into the foreseeable future; could be best described as “containment, tracking and mitigation”.

Digital technologies have been key in the management and ‘flattening of the curve’ in terms of infection rates across many countries. Surveillance, testing, contact tracing, quarantine and health care can all potentially benefit from the integration of digital technology.


In many countries, digital technology has been key in terms of efforts to track Covid-19 infections. By using data dashboards, migration maps, real-time learning (AI) and real-time data from smartphones.

Singapore, China and Taiwan have taken advantage of the ability to visually depict the spread of infection, direct border restrictions and inform forecasts in regards to predicted infection rates.

The only downside to this has been the cost, the concerns about privacy and the management required to make the system work effectively.

The use of digital technology for tracking purposes also feeds into screening for infection – with digital thermometers, mobile phone apps, thermal cameras and web-based toolkits used in China, Iceland, Singapore and China (more information here). Contact tracing, on the other hand, makes use of global positioning systems, mobile phones apps and wearable technology.

Clinical Management

Technology and specifically AI can be used to help predict the rate of infection and how best to prepare a given country’s or state’s resources. AI diagnostics and virtual care platforms have been used with some success in Australia, Canada and Ireland. By monitoring and predicting the spread of Covid-19, AI can assist with clinical decision-making, risk-predictions and may help to facilitate infection control.

In the UK, there has been a surge in patients’ uptake of remote health services, including downloading and installing the NHS app, the use of the NHS website and registration for e-prescription services.

There was an initiative to move more services to an online or digital interface & delivery prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, however – these changes have successfully been fast-tracked in 2020 in order to free up more time and resources in order to tackle serious illnesses including Covid-19.

You can read more about how the NHS has made use of digital technology on the Nuffield Trust website here.

Private Initiatives

Whilst governments struggle to contain the spread of Covid-19, businesses in many parts of the world are attempting to return to some level of normality. Business communications experts Moneypenny have developed a helpful screening bot that provides an additional level of safety and security for those working back in the office.

To keep face-to-face meetings viable and safe, the screening bot service three key functions. It asks users a series of questions to check visitors and clients are in a fit-state to proceed and partake in a face-to-face meeting, it captures a visitors details to enable ‘track and trace’ and it outlines the site’s Covid safety policies to ensure any visitors adhere to them.

The tool has been quickly adopted by many accountancy firms but is suitable and available to virtually any sector including leisure organisations such as pubs and gyms which continue to operate in the UK despite many areas adhering to ‘local lockdown’ procedures in October.

The bot determines whether any potential visitors to an office or place of business have had Covid symptoms, or have come into contact with anyone who is feeling unwell.

Joanna Swash, Chief Executive Officer of Moneypenny, recently stated: “By using the bot, companies can ensure that all parties are symptom-free before they come into contact with each other, and can rest assured that they’ve done as much as possible to protect their customers and clients without juggling a messy paper trail and clunky forms.”

The screening bot can easily be integrated into a website’s online booking system and can be branded to fit in with the design of any company website.

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