Google Maps added a coronavirus warning whenever someone searches for nearby medical locations.
The warning message encourages people to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols if they plan on visiting a doctor for coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19. The message says, “COVID-19 alert: Call your doctor before visiting if you may have COVID-19.”
By clicking the warning, you would be redirected to CDC’s guidelines on what to do if you think you may have coronavirus.
According to 9to5Google, the coronavirus warning appears at the top of the search results on Android devices. In iOS devices, the message appears within the business listing itself. Aside from doctors’ offices or other medical facilities, the message also appears when you search for a blood bank.
Google Maps also recently updated its Support Page for local business owners, encouraging them to update their current hours since the coronavirus outbreak has caused many businesses to either close or reduce their operating hours.
Google is also encouraging businesses to create a post about how and if they are affected by the coronavirus, as well as what precautions the business is taking.
Tech companies like Google and Facebook are working in tandem with the U.S. government to come up with ways that people’s cell phone location data can be used to combat the coronavirus outbreak. Public health officials would track this type of data to improve their understanding of how coronavirus spreads.
The Washington Post reports that if the data were collected, it would be analyzed and would be presented as an aggregated dataset where researchers could analyze location trends. Officials said that the data would not be built as a government database.
Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the coronavirus a pandemic. At the time of this writing, there have been more than 207,600 confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide and more than 8,248 confirmed deaths, according to an online dashboard that tracks cases.
The virus is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China, but there have been confirmed cases in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, and dozens of other countries around the globe.
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