Tech giants bring China's coronavirus experience to the West
As Covid-19 cases surge around the globe, Alibaba, JD.com and Baidu offer free online medical consultation for the public and a digital handbook for frontline medical workers
China’s tech giants are facilitating access to information and experience seen as crucial in the international fight against the novel coronavirus as the pandemic continues to spread across the globe.
The Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation are sharing clinical experience from frontline medical workers with global medical institutions in the form of a digital handbook, according to a statement on Wednesday.
The medical staff are from First Affiliated Hospital and Zhejiang University School of Medicine (FAHZU) which together admitted 104 patients confirmed with coronavirus over a 50-day period. The hospital has so far been able to handle the health crisis without a single medical staff infection, missed diagnosis or patient death.
“Today, with the spread of the global pandemic, these experiences are precious and the most-important weapon for medical personnel,” Jack Ma, billionaire and Alibaba co-founder, wrote in the handbook. “We hope that, with this handbook, doctors and nurses in other affected areas can learn from experience as they face this battle, without having to start from scratch.”
To help fight the coronavirus, which has now sickened more than 100,000 people in over 150 countries and regions around the world after peaking in China, Chinese tech giants are also providing free online consultations for Chinese living overseas.
Search giant Baidu and JD Health, the subsidiary of e-commerce giant JD.com, launched their consultation platforms on Tuesday. The free online service links overseas Chinese with doctors and medical experts in mainland China.
The JD Health platform offers 24-hour consultations from over 300 doctors from different clinics, including 38 doctors and medical experts with frontline experience in fighting Covid-19 in Hubei province, where the outbreak started.
Of the doctors, nearly 20 are able to provide the consultations in both English and Chinese.
Baidu launched a similar platform amid the escalating pandemic, enabling overseas Chinese to use its search engine to access medical services, including consultations for pneumonia. The online medical team is composed of doctors from public hospitals who have received training for the diagnosis and treatment of the novel coronavirus.
Providing at least one live streamed presentation a day from experts and frontline medical staff, the platform recently teamed up with the Chinese Embassy in Italy to invite input from a Chinese medical expert sent to the European country to share prevention knowledge and treatment measures.
Earlier this month Alibaba Health, the health care flagship of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, joined with its affiliate Alipay to offer overseas Chinese free online medical consultations.
Chinese tech companies are also joining the effort to donate medical supplies to other countries, with smartphone makers Oppo and Xiaomi donating masks to some European countries.
On Monday Jack Ma announced that his foundation was donating 2 million masks and 500,000 coronavirus test kits to the US to fight the pandemic outbreak, which followed a pledge to donate 2 million masks to Europe last week.
(Abacus is a unit of the South China Morning Post, which is owned by Alibaba.)