Pandemic creates chances for information technology – Opinion

Mabel R. Acton
A resident scans a QR code of a mini-program to report health information in Beijing, March 10, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

The prevention and control of the COVID-19 in China is not only a battle in health and sanitation, but also a great challenge to science and technology.
Just as President Xi Jinping said, “Whether large-scale nucleic acid testing, data tracking and health code identification, or multilevel and differentiated epidemic prevention and control, and the orderly resumption of work and production, they are all our efforts to honor and promote the spirit of science and provide strong scientific and technological support for the fight against the epidemic”.

Information technology has played an important role in this fight against the epidemic. The use of health code has provided important technical support for cutting the epidemic”s transmission chains.

Artificial intelligence is not only helping medical institutions carry out preliminary inquiry and pre-diagnosis through robots, but also enabling doctors to diagnose and treat patients without meeting them in person, thus reducing the possibility of cross-infection between medical staff and patients.

Online shopping, online drama shows, video chatting and online education are all flourishing.

Given that epidemic prevention and control require data support from public security, transportation, labor and other administrative departments, as well as from telecommunications and internet companies, the country must enhance its ability in data analysis.

The country should continue to give full play to its cyber advantages, provide more smooth remote diagnoses and telemedicine, maximize superior diagnosis and treatment resources, and give play to the collective wisdom of experts from around the world.

Cybersecurity should be guaranteed to prevent attacks under the guise of the COVID-19 virus. For example, hackers might disguise computer viruses, Trojans and malicious mobile programs as “pneumonia cases” or “protection notices” and make them viral through phishing emails or malicious links.
While some traditional industries have been hit hard by the pandemic, emerging industries such as intelligent manufacturing, unmanned delivery, online consumption and health-care have shown strong growth potential.

So, the country should take this opportunity to transform and upgrade traditional industries and foster emerging industries. In this sense, the epidemic has also created opportunities for China’s economic transformation and upgrading as well as the development of cyber information technology.

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