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Big data, AI build defensive line amid virus outbreak

(Xinhua)    15:32, February 10, 2020

HANGZHOU, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- Zheng Wei, who is in charge of a property management company in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, just received a text message.

It read that there was a householder, whose place of residence is registered in virus-hit Hubei Province, just used his access card at the entrance of his apartment building.

"He might have just returned home from Hubei, so I have to go and check if he is feeling alright or needs some help," Zheng said.

The message was automatically sent by a real-time pre-warning system that enables data exchange between the intelligent security system of the residential compound with Hangzhou's "City Brain," an AI-powered platform developed by Alibaba which aims at improving city management.

Data from nearly 80 government agencies and businesses run into Hangzhou's City Brain every day. The city promptly launched a prevention and control system using the City Brain in the wake of the novel coronavirus epidemic.

By cooperating with the three major mobile operators, the newly launched system can send notices not only to Hubei natives in Hangzhou but citizens or travelers who recently visited Wuhan, reminding them to take quarantine measures as soon as they arrive in Hangzhou.

A greater challenge to the anti-virus campaign lies ahead with a larger flow of personnel as the New Year holiday ends and work resumes.

The National Health Commission Monday said it received reports of 3,062 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection on Sunday from 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, bringing the overall confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland to 40,171 by the end of Sunday.

Fortunately, many Chinese cities are busy building defensive lines using big data and AI technologies.

Pudong New Area in Shanghai obtains accurate positions of individuals who are under observation and is able to carry out dynamic management of their movements using data from telecommunication base stations and GPS.

A tech firm in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, collected public data and developed a search app whereby users can check whether they have traveled on the same flight as an infected passenger.

Xiangshan County of Ningbo in coastal Zhejiang Province initiated a big data system that collects the number of workers that have returned to work and their physical conditions reported by local enterprises and private businesses.

"Using big data and AI is a race against time in the epidemic fight, and we need to find high-risk groups before they get infected," said Kong Wanfeng, a Hangzhou government official.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Zhao Tong, Liang Jun)

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