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Technologies arm rural China in anti-virus fight

(Xinhua)    10:11, March 16, 2020

BEIJING, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Artificial intelligence (AI), unmanned aerial vehicles, Chinese companies have adopted various high technologies to prevent and control the epidemic outbreak in the country's rural areas.

In a farm covering more than 53,300 hectares, with over 40,000 residents in the city of Jiamusi of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, an AI call system has been applied to ask about the health conditions of farmers, to substitute manual phone calls and door-to-door visits.

The AI robot, based on the intelligent voice technology, can analyze speech information and automatically create documents and forms which record its investigation contents and data.

The system, provided by the e-commerce giant for free, was put into use in February. It has improved work efficiency and avoided cross infections caused by human contact, said Zhang Hongyu, who is responsible for the epidemic prevention and control work on the farm.

"As farmers scattered on the large farm and local labor force is limited, many people outside the farm will come to help during the spring farming season every year," Zhang said. "Only with an intelligent approach can we curb the epidemic precisely and efficiently."

In addition, WeCounty, a platform serving people in rural areas developed by the tech giant Tencent, has provided services for villagers, including online medical consultation, urgent notice releases and free online courses.

Through the platform, villagers across the country can also find out whether they had taken the same trains with patients infected with COVID-19.

On Jan. 28, a notice about the epidemic was released via the platform in the village of Chashi of Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture in central China's Hunan Province. It was clicked 651 times and was read by almost all the villagers within a day, said Wu Zongjiang, Party secretary of the village.

According to Tencent, as of Feb. 28, the number of people who use this platform had exceeded 1 million, and about 176,000 pieces of epidemic-related information had been released to villages across the country.

In east China's Anhui Province, farmers are also actively looking for ways to fight against the epidemic. In the county of Guzhen, some agricultural drones have been temporarily deployed to disinfect the public areas.

Chen Li, who is skilled at controlling drones, now regularly disinfects the densely populated places in his village, including streets and markets with the disinfectant provided by the local government.

Compared with manual disinfection, the use of unmanned drones has greatly reduced the risk of being infected and improved work efficiency, Chen said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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