10 ways South Africa is using tech to fight COVID-19

Businesses, government and vendors have stepped up to fight the coronavirus with a variety of apps and IT initiatives, in ways that will likely forever change the tech landscape in the country.

COVID-19 coronavirus morphology / network of cells
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As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the world and South Africa enters its second week of lockdown, the internet and mobile communications have assumed even more of a central role in the lives of citizens forced to communicate online, work remotely and desperately search for information and updates through their devices. New uses of technology, new services and a surge in e-commerce, will permanently alter the tech landscape in ways that  IT leaders in enterprises will need to be aware of.

Government and private enterprises have been offering innovative uses of technology to combat the spread of the virus. Here are 10 instances where technology is playing a part in combatting the spread of the coronavirus and providing new ways for South Africans to work and connect.

Tapping WhatsApp for communications

WhatsApp is by far the most popular digital application in the country, used by almost everyone with a mobile device. The Department of Health was quick in creating a WhatsApp helpline, which served over 15 million messages, available in five languages, to 1.5 million citizens within the first week.  It was created by Praekelt, an organization that works with the government and NGOs to leverage digital technology. Once users save the helpline number into their phones, they can then send questions or queries and receive automated messages in response. It makes use of the latest information from the World Health Organization, as well as local news and updates in order to serve real-time information and combat much of the fake news which has spread almost as fast as the virus itself

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