Saudi Arabia's technology investments pay off in coronavirus battle

The COVID-19 outbreak in Saudi Arabia has become an unexpected catalyst for demand for mobile apps, government portals, and emerging tech like drones.

healthcare technology / medical data
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Digital services that were introduced to bolster government institutions over the last few years are proving to be effective as Saudi Arabia locks down parts of the country.

From an app that allows people to book hospital appointments from their homes, to an e-learning portal, the country is now slowly bearing the fruits of a digital push that began with the announcement of the Vision 2030 program in 2016.

"Technology is being relied on heavily by the government to provide digital services, manage healthcare operations and identify those infected with COVID-19," said Carrington Malin, an entrepreneur and technology writer.

The Central Appointment System (Mawid) is an example of a successful digital service. The mobile app, which was launched by the Saudi Ministry of Health last year, is being used to streamline individual applications for COVID-19 tests and has become central to the Kingdom's coronavirus response.  

The app recently started offering a symptoms self-assessment feature as the number of confirmed cases spiked. To use the Mawid app, a user must have an account with the Saudi Ministry of Interior's Absher platform, which gives residents of the country access to government services and also allows individuals and businesses to make financial transactions. Services are also offered via a web portal.

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