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Apple Updates It’s Voice Assistant Siri With Coronavirus Screening Test

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In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, tech giant Apple has recently updated its voice assistant Siri which can now help its users with a step-by-step guide when they ask questions that are variations of “Hey Siri, do I have the coronavirus?”

According to reports, the update started to be noticed by its users from Saturday, and currently, the service has only been rolled out to users in the United States. Apple’s AI voice assistant, Siri, guides its users through a step-by-step questionnaire. The questions and advice are designed based on information approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Public Health Service.

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Siri will ask users if they’re exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms such as fever, dry cough or shortness of breath. The voice assistant will advise users showing mild signs to stay home and self-isolate. Users exhibiting severe symptoms will be encouraged to call 911 directly. Users will also be prompted to consider remote consultation by the voice assistant, which will offer a link to the App Store for remote health services that could provide over-the-phone consultation.

Tech majors have been developing such tools to provide remote assistance to citizens in case of the coronavirus pandemic. Google’s Verily last week had rolled out a screening website in California. The site lets users take an online screening survey and suggests to them if they should get tested for COVID-19. Google is further developing the tool for other areas as well.

According to their official statement “The tool will triage people who are concerned about their Covid-19 risk into testing sites based on guidance from public health officials and test availability.” The answers that Siri gives to every question come from the US Public Health Service, which is a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, and the CDC. So, you can rest assured that it’s quite reliable.

In India, the assistant, Siri, points the user to the website for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Apart from Apple, other companies are stepping up their efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic. In essence, Google has also recently launched a COVID-19 portal with a focus on education, prevention and local resources. The Google Assistant app can also direct you to coronavirus information. Additionally, Apple’s efforts to combat coronavirus doesn’t stop with Siri’s update; in fact, the Apple TV Plus subscription service is adding a new show, Oprah Talks COVID-19, in which Oprah Winfrey promises to interview experts and others affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The first episode features an interview with actor Idris Elba and his wife, Sabrina Dhowre, who’ve both tested positive for the virus.

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Sejuti Das
Sejuti currently works as Associate Editor at Analytics India Magazine (AIM). Reach out at sejuti.das@analyticsindiamag.com

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