Technology in a Pandemic – Helping Control Coronavirus

SSW China have been working closely with the District Government in China to develop an application that will help reduce the spread of Coronavirus. Split into two smaller apps, it has revolutionised reporting during this deadly outbreak.

The Government called us during the Lunar New Year, and commissioned SSW to build this with absolute urgency. The 1st application, is a Quarantine Reporting System. Built in React and .NET Core, the application helps residents report their symptoms, apply for leave passes and gain government help and resources when they need it, without having to leave home. It means that they can self quarantine without being assessed and do not need to worry about going outside for supplies, which should drastically reduce the risk of others being infected.

The 2nd application is a Government Service System that allows people who are returning to work to do so easily. There are many construction sites facing the scary task of re-opening as the pressure to return to work gets bigger. The construction industry is labour-intensive, and the workers are almost all migrants. In order to help control the epidemic and prevent the potential spread of the virus, the government has introduced strict regulations for the returning work population.

Figure: The Coronavirus App in action

In the past, the process has required individuals to submit paperwork, a *lot* of paperwork. It was labour-intensive, slow and frustrating for operators and staff. Now they can do everything in one place, online, with no paperwork to do. It has revolutionised the return to work system, making it so much easier for both employees and business owners.

The SSW China team have put in some crazy overtime (hundreds of hours in the last month) building this application but they are so proud of the results!

Lessons from China – Controlling the spread of Coronavirus

Like many other offices in China, many of the SSW guys went back to their hometown to visit family for the Lunar New Year. When they returned back to SSW Hangzhou, they all had to go through a mandatory quarantine period, where they had to stay home and not go out for 14 days (some of them more depending on where they had been).

To make sure our team were protected, we gave them an extra week off, and a week to work from home. Developers are so lucky, these days we can work from anywhere! It meant we could continue to work for our main clients, even when many staff members were still in quarantine.

Some of the team have now been allowed to return to work at the SSW China office, but they have a crazy routine to follow in order to comply with the government rules and to help protect themselves from the virus. Check out their daily routine in this fun video by SSW Admin Sharon Du.

How is it affecting Australia?

Just as Australia started to recover from the devastating bushfires, we were hit by floods, and now, like 60 other countries around the world, we are dealing with the threat of Novel Coronavirus (COVID19).

People have been behaving very strangely, and it’s not because they have the virus. The panic of a potential quarantine has driven people to start stock piling long-life goods like pasta, canned veggies, hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Images from the great toilet paper shortage (there is no real shortage) has been trending on Twitter for weeks #ToiletPaperApocalypse.

Closure of Large Tech Events

Due to the rapid spread of Coronavirus, companies are becoming more and more nervous about running large events where huge numbers of people will congregate. It has already caused the cancellation of popular industry conferences, like Google’s Cloud Next in San Francisco, and Microsoft’s MVP Summit in the Seattle.

Organisers have chosen to reduce the risk of infection by turning them into virtual events instead.

What you can do to protect yourself

You can choose to be as cautious as our SSW China team, (who are in the epicentre of the virus), or do more basic things to prevent infection. According to the World Heath Organisation, Coronaviruses typically cause respiratory symptoms, so they recommend that you adhere to:

  • normal basic hand hygiene practices, like hand washing with soap and water
  • respiratory hygiene such as covering your mouth with your elbow when you sneeze
  • wearing a face mask if unwell.

They break it down for you in this cool informative video:

Stay safe everyone and remember to wash your hands and don’t hoard toilet paper!