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Apple launches coronavirus screening app and website

Apple has released a screening tool to help people in the U.S. check whether they might be infected with coronavirus, officially called COVID-19, and let them know whether they should seek medical treatment.

The screening tool on Apple’s website asks about symptoms, exposure, and health issues, and then recommends a course of action. To use the screening tool, hit the blue Start Screening button. You’ll then answer a series of questions, and at the end it will advise whether you should go to the emergency room, self-isolate, practice social distancing, or take some other action. It also gives a series of next steps for respondents to take, such as staying away from other people for at least seven days, resting and drinking plenty of fluids, and monitoring symptoms in case they get worse.

Most usefully, the tool also advises you on whether or not you should get tested for the coronavirus. Many people who are not sick have wanted to get tested, and with limited testing resources available in the U.S., this has caused problems. So the advice on whether testing is necessary could help to lessen some of that strain.

The new COVID-19 app and website provide the latest information and guidance from the CDC for users across the US.
The new COVID-19 app and website provide the latest information and guidance from the CDC for people across the U,S. Apple

Apple has also released a COVID-19 app that’s available from the App Store that performs the same functions. The website also includes pages about what the virus is, what people can do to limit the spread of the virus, and how testing for the virus works and who should get tested.

Apple said it has created these resources “in partnership with the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC)], the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and FEMA to make it easy for people across the country to get trusted information and guidance at a time when the U.S. is feeling the heavy burden of COVID-19.”

A similar tool was released earlier this week by the CDC. It made a chatbot available that questions users about their symptoms and suggests a course of action. Digital assistants including Amazon Alexa and Apple’s own Siri will also give advice on what people should do if they think they may be suffering from the coronavirus.

For the latest updates on the novel coronavirus outbreak, visit the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 page.

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