Amazon’s Alexa assistant can now offer advice to users who are worried that they may have contracted coronavirus, officially called COVID-19. Amazon announced the update in a blog post on Thursday, saying the company “want[s] to do everything we can to support you during these unprecedented times.”
The information provided by Alexa is based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To access the information, you can ask, “Alexa, what do I do if I think I have COVID-19?” or “Alexa, what do I do if I think I have coronavirus?” Alexa will walk you through a series of questions about your symptoms and exposure, then tell you what your risk level is and advise what your next course of action should be.
This system is only for the U.S., though Alexa also provides coronavirus-related information in other countries too. Users in Japan can use Alexa to access information based on guidance from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare which will provide guidance based on your symptoms.
In addition, Alexa can also sing you a song for 20 seconds to help make sure you are washing your hands for enough time, and it can answer questions related to the coronavirus outbreak as well. “Alexa can now answer tens of thousands of questions related to COVID-19 in countries around the world, and we are working to provide accurate and timely information from official government and news sources globally,” Amazon said in its blog post.
Alexa is just the latest digital assistant to offer advice on coronavirus symptoms. Last weekend, Apple updated its Siri voice assistant to give iPhone users information when they asked questions like “Do I have the coronavirus?” Siri will ask a series of yes or no questions about symptoms and exposure and suggest next steps. It also reminds users to wash their hands regularly.
Google Assistant also has functions to help users do their part to reduce the spread of coronavirus. In its “Do the Five” campaign, Google uses pushes notifications to encourage users to stay home, wash their hands, and maintain social distancing. And there’s a new “Coronavirus tips” section which has been added to Google Assistant on Android devices.
For the latest updates on the novel coronavirus outbreak, visit the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 page.
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