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Apple screening app helps users identify COVID-19 symptoms

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 30 Mar 2020

Apple has introduced a coronavirus (COVID-19) screening mobile app and a set of resources to help people stay informed and protect their health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The American multinational tech giant says its news COVID-19 Web site and mobile app, available on the App Store, are based on the latest guidance developed by the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC).

The platforms were created in partnership with the White House Coronavirus Task Force and Federal Emergency Management Agency, to make it easy for people to get trusted information and guidance at a time when many countries across the globe are feeling the heavy burden of COVID-19.

Coronavirus cases around the world continue to soar, claiming the lives of over 34 000 people, with an infection rate of over 730 000 and recoveries at more than 154 000. SA had recorded 1 280 COVID-19 cases, and two deaths by this morning.

According to Apple, the COVID-19 app and Web site allow users to answer a series of questions around risk factors, recent exposure and symptoms for themselves or a loved one.

“Users will receive answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19, including who is most at risk and how to recognise symptoms. In addition, they will learn the most up-to-date information from the CDC, like best practices for washing hands, disinfecting surfaces and monitoring symptoms, and guidance on social distancing and self-isolating,” says Apple in a statement.

The screening tool is designed to be a resource for individuals and does not replace instructions from healthcare providers, or guidance from state and local health authorities, it adds.

Governments and organisations across the globe have introduced digital platforms to inform their citizens about the outbreak, including SA, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Italy,Singapore, Spain and the UK.

Last week, the World Health Organisation launched a coronavirus messaging service on WhatsApp. The Commonwealth of Nations has also introduced an online coronavirus tracker that provides a daily update on the scale of the COVID-19 outbreak in Commonwealth countries.

The COVID-19 app and Web tools do not require a sign-in or association with a user’s Apple ID, and users’ individual responses will not be sent to Apple or any government organisation, notes Apple.