Much of the global news over the past couple of weeks has been dominated by the coronavirus, and for good reason. The pandemic stemming from Wuhan in China has claimed a few hundred lives at this stage, and has generally caused a state of fear among citizens across the world.

With little information known about the coronavirus at this stage, Google and the World Health Organisation recently announced a partnership which will aim to keep people informed, as well as provide safety tips to ensure they do not infected.

To that end if you search for the coronavirus, the Google search results will also feature links to advisory information, an overview of the condition of the virus and FAQs that people may have.

The firm also announced that it would be offering a direct grant of $250 000 to the Chinese Red Cross via the philanthropic arm of its company – Google.org. The money will no doubt be welcome, as at the time of writing the virus has resulted in a confirmed 8 000 cases and more than 170 deaths.

Google are not the only tech company looking to do its part, with Facebook also announcing that it too will share vital safety information about the coronavirus with its users, as well as assist healthcare organisations with access to necessary data to help track and potentially prevent the spread of the virus.

Looking locally, there have been no confirmed cases of the coronavirus, but given our country’s ties to China and the amount of traffic between both nations, our government has stated that it is ready to prevent any outbreak.

This as the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) issued a statement earlier this week to assure South Africans that, “we are prepared for the eventuality of an outbreak.”

“Together with the National Department of Health, the NICD has developed and distributed clinical guidelines and case definitions for doctors and nurses in both the public and the private sectors to better detect, identify and respond to a possible 2019-nCoV [novel coronavirus] case,” it added.

Here’s hoping it does not necessitate such actions.

[Image – Photo by CDC on Unsplash]