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Global Times

High technology plays key role as Beijing combats new COVID-19 outbreak

Global Times

By Zhang Hongpei Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/17 21:51:50

As Beijing has raised the COVID-19 emergency response level to II from III, high technology including big data, artificial intelligence and cloud computing is in play to help screen for the virus and prevent further spread.

The Global Times learned that some people in Beijing have received an official text message saying that they might have been to the Xinfadi wholesale market after May 30 according to the city's big data analysis, and also asking them not to go outside.

Xinfadi is where the latest outbreak of COVID-19 was first uncovered on June 11 in Beijing, since when there have been 137 confirmed cases.

People who have received the message should fill in a digital questionnaire about their personal data including name, address and the last time they visited Xinfadi. "If the information is not true, there will be legal liability," according to a screenshot of the message.

Some people said that they only passed by the market by car or by bus instead of going inside, but they still received the message.

As smartphones have become a daily necessity for people, their signal is received by local base stations run by mobile carriers, according to telecom industry analysts

Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Beijing-based Information Consumption Alliance, told the Global Times on Wednesday that there is a seamless connection as when the smartphone moves, its signal can be registered at its nearby base station.

"Based on that, a moving track could be roughly sketched," Xiang said.

Apart from the message using big data, facial recognition technology has also been applied in some residential areas in Beijing.

The city has expanded its strict closed-off management to all residential communities under the Level II emergency response, according to a press conference on Wednesday. The capital previously required strict lockdown measures in residential communities around areas where infections were found.

Chinese facial recognition start-up CloudWalk Technology has established its system since March in a residential area in Beijing's Fengtai district, where the Xinfadi market is located.

It can realize automatic recognition of objects, intelligent identification, warning of abnormal behavior, and active push of messages to the local department in charge of epidemic prevention.

A spokesperson for CloudWalk told the Global Times that the system is expected to help community management in COVID-19 prevention during the new outbreak.

To tackle the current special period of the new outbreak, it is essential to give full play to those high technologies that enhance efficiency, but it is also important to pay attention to personal data protection, said Xiang.



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