Apple has updated its Siri voice assistant with a coronavirus fact-sheet, enabling the software to act as an initial screening tool for people worried about whether they have contracted the virus. As of Sunday night, asking Siri “Do I have coronavirus” will prompt the software to take the user through a series of questions about their symptoms in a bid to check whether the person may have contracted the disease or not.

Based on the answers, Siri will tell the user to either contact a medical professional or quarantine themselves and monitor their health for a period of time. In countries like the US, Siri will also point users to mobile apps that can help connect users to a health provider in their locality. All of the information it provides comes from America’s premier national public health institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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

Tech companies like Google, Facebook, Netflix and their various subsidiaries, have been doing their bit in the fight against COVID-19 by donating generously to cause and in many cases, creating dedicated coronavirus hubs on their websites to help people out with their queries about the pandemic. You can also get a full lowdown on COVID-19 from the official WHO website.

Medically known as SARS-COV-2, the novel coronavirus is known to cause a disease known as COVID-19, which is significantly more contagious than the original SARS virus from 2003 and around 30 times deadlier than regular flu. While most people affected by the virus will only have mild symptoms or none at all, it is causing severe illness – even death – in many people, mostly senior citizens and those with pre-existing medical conditions. With over 300,000 confirmed cases and more than 13,000 deaths globally, the outbreak was officially declared a pandemic by the WHO earlier this month.

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