In collaboration with Huawei, Deloitte has published a whitepaper recently discussing how key features of 5G can combine with other technologies to enhance the effectiveness of pandemic prevention and treatment, as well as drive the digital transformation of healthcare systems in response to major public emergencies.
The whitepaper, titled "Combating COVID-19 with 5G: Opportunities to improve public health systems", analyzes examples of COVID-19 control and treatment in China to ascertain the data demands of different stakeholders during major public emergencies, said a press release.
As well as presenting these findings, the report discusses how key features of 5G—such as high speed connection, large arrays of connection points, low latency and expansive data bandwidth—can synergize with big data, AI, and the Cloud technologies to enhance pandemic prevention efforts.
These features can address data transmission challenges during an epidemic, as well as open up possibilities for fresh ideas and new treatment methods.
Amongst its findings, the whitepaper notes that the effectiveness of communication and data exchange has been essential in screening for infected individuals and controlling the outbreak.
Robust mobile network infrastructure like 5G is also enabling continuous remote monitoring and diagnosis during patient transfers, and is supporting thermal imaging for contagion monitoring.
Supporting pandemic monitoring platforms, natural disaster command centers, and remote medical consultation are three additional applications of 5G that can be taken advantage of after the rapid escalations of COVID-19.
Ultimately, healthcare systems with access to 5G connectivity have benefited from improved response times, patient monitoring, data collection and analytics, remote collaboration, and resource allocation. It sets an example for building digitalized, data-driven, and cloud-based public emergency-response platforms.
In China, Huawei worked with Huazhong University of Science & Technology and Lanwon Technology to develop and launch an AI-assisted quantitative medical image analysis service for COVID-19.
With the leading AI technologies such as computer vision and medical image analysis, the service can automatically output CT quantification results to imaging and clinical doctors, alleviating the shortage of imaging doctors who can accurately diagnose COVID-19, relieving the pressures of quarantines, and reducing the heavy workloads of doctors.
The whitepaper notes that the success of 5G applications in the public health domain could inspire businesses in other sectors to leverage 5G's popularity and explore new applications of the technology in smart city management.
These may include manufacturing resource allocation to environmental protection and transportation systems maintenance.
Huawei and its global partners have worked together on multiple 5G projects, covering many domains including healthcare, new media, campus, and education.
Through its 5G Partner Innovation Program, Huawei plans to invest US$20 million into innovative 5G applications over the next 5 years, contributing to a thriving 5G ecosystem.
As a leading global 5G supplier, Huawei has been awarded 91 commercial 5G contracts and shipped over 600,000 5G Massive MIMO Active Antenna Units (AAUs).
Israeli hi-tech companies raised about 2.74 billion U.S. dollars in funds in the first quarter of 2020, setting an all-time record, the Israeli IVC Research Center reported Sunday.
In comparison, Israeli hi-tech companies raised 2.36 billion dollars in the fourth quarter of 2019, and 1.56 billion dollars in the first quarter of 2019.
The new record was set in 139 deals, up from 138 deals in the fourth quarter 2019, and 130 deals in the first quarter of 2019, according to the Israel Tech Funding Report, written by IVC and ZAG-S&W law firm.
According to the report, the COVID-19 crisis has caused businesses to cease regular activity and search for ways to survive this uncertain period.
They noted that the first to suffer from the global recession in the Israeli hi-tech industry were young seed companies, with only four capital-raising deals made since February.
Marianna Shapira, research director at IVC, told Xinhua that "the coronavirus crisis impacts are not yet reflected in the data because it includes continuous deals and trends from previous quarters, but the changes will be significantly seen in the coming quarters' figures."
Noting that the telecom sector is facing economic challenges following the coronavirus outbreak, the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB) on Thursday urged the law enforcers to extend cooperation for smooth functioning of top-up stores during the ongoing nationwide shutdown.
It also informed that Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are already observing trends in usage patterns that may leave some dent on their overall revenue, said a press release.
The data usage has increased by 15-20 percent following the reduction of data pack tariffs byup to 50 percent, AMTOB said, adding that the voice calls have dropped by upto 20 percent in the last couple of days.
It also said the total number of recharge through the retail channels has also dropped by around 20 percent due to the restrictions on people’s movement.
The organisation alleged that although telecom sector was declared as an emergency service during this crisis period, law enforcement agencies are imposing restrictions in some places.
It also urged customers to recharge for talk time using other means such as mobile financial services, electronic money transfer and mobile applications.
The government on Wednesday extended holidays till April 11 to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Earlier, a general 10-day holiday was declared from March 26 to April 4.
Grameenphone (GP) will donate 50,000 units of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and 10,000 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test kits to hospitals designated for coronavirus treatment by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
These will help protect health professionals on the frontline tackling the outbreak situation, said a press release of GP.
Posts and Telecommunication Minister Mustafa Jabbar welcomed the initiative, and said he hoped other companies will also come forward and stand beside the government to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak.
Yasir Azman, Chief Executive Officer of Grameenphone, said: "This is our utmost responsibility to contribute as individuals and corporations during this unprecedented global crisis.”
Meanwhile, Bangladesh confirmed its sixth coronavirus death and three more cases on Wednesday, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 54.
Major social media companies are taking aim at Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's dismissal of social distancing, joining others in the country who have lined up against his controversial stance regarding the new coronavirus.
Facebook and Instagram removed posts by the far-right leader Monday night that showed Bolsonaro walking around outside capital Brasilia on Sunday and mingling with groups. It was yet another affront to World Health Organization recommendations to self-isolate as a means to contain the pandemic. The companies' move came one day after Twitter also removed some Bolsonaro posts.
Facebook, which owns Instagram, said in a statement that it removes content "that violates our community standards, which do not allow disinformation that might cause real damage to people."
Twitter justified its decision by saying in a statement that its rules prohibit content that runs "against public health information given by official sources and can put people at greater risk of transmitting COVID-19."
Bolsonaro is one of few world leaders who say the virus itself will cause less harm than shutting down the economy. In a national address Tuesday night, while repeating that same argument, he changed his rhetoric, calling the pandemic he once described as "a little flu" as "the biggest challenge of our generation." His speech was met with pot-banging protests for the 15th night in a row.
His defiance has received vocal backing from supporters — both on social media and in several cities where they staged demonstrations demanding life return to normal — but his attitude has also been rejected by mayors, state governors and judges. Even some members of Bolsonaro's own administration have insisted on broad lockdown measures that run contrary to his statements.
Last Thursday, Bolsonaro issued a decree that added religious activities to the list of "essential services," meaning churches could remain open even though governors had banned large gatherings. The decree was overruled by a federal court the following day.
Supreme Court Justice Marco Aurélio Mello authorized an opposition lawmaker's request for Bolsonaro's own prosecutor general to investigate an alleged crime committed by the president, the Supreme Court's website said Tuesday. The allegation of endangering the public is based on Bolsonaro encouraging people to disobey isolation measures, calling concern over the pandemic "hysteria" and characterizing the virus itself as "a little cold." The judge's action requires the prosecutor general to issue a legal opinion.
In an interview with the newspaper O Globo, Prosecutor General Augusto Aras said that Bolsonaro is free to express his opinion and go out in public so long as he doesn't issue any official decrees that counter broad lockdown guidelines, which could tread into territory that requires legal evaluation.
Despite the president's open skepticism, senior members of his own Cabinet have insisted on hewing closely to guidelines recommended by international health authorities. "Always technical, always scientific, always doing the maximum we can to preserve lives," Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta told reporters on Monday.
On Tuesday, Brazil's health ministry reported 5,717 cases of Covid-19 and 201 deaths, the largest figures in Latin America. That included more than 1,100 new cases since the prior day — by far Brazil's biggest single-day increase yet.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially the elderly and people with preexisting health conditions, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
Bolsonaro has 12 million followers on Facebook, almost 16 million on Instagram and more than 6 million on Twitter. Social media was key for his election victory in 2018.
Twitter recently deleted posts from Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro for sharing speculation about possible unusual cures for Covid-19.