China uses big data to keep track of COVID-19

More than 1,100 internet hospitals have been built nationwide.

The broad application of big data in China’s COVID-19 prevention and control has promoted the speedy digital transformation of the medical industry, according to reports released by the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The national QR health code, which displays individual COVID-19 test results and travel history data, has been used more than 60 billion times. China’s health authorities have also used big data from confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases to track close contacts and allocate medical supplies through digital means, read a report from the Cyberspace Administration of China.

According to reports, during a digital summit by the PRC on display was a 5G-connected ambulance, which receives specialized remote support in real-time via high-definition video, and an ICU ward, which is equipped with a 360-degree camera transmitting real-time images of patients to doctors. Amid the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, similar VR quarantine wards allowed medical experts to conduct face-to-face consultations with patients without direct contact.

According to China’s National Health Commission, more than 1,100 internet hospitals have been built nationwide, and 30 provincial-level regions have established supervision platforms for online medical services.

The report also showed that the telemedicine network now covers more than 24,000 medical institutions in all prefecture-level cities in China.

China’s digital economy maintained rapid growth during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), with an annual average growth of more than 16.6 percent, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

MIIT data also showed that the value-added of core industries in the country’s digital economy accounted for 7.8 percent of the country’s GDP as of the end of 2020, with the industry growing still further in its vitality.

The nation has stepped up efforts to promote the development of its digital economy in recent years, providing strong support for the building of a Digital China, said Yang Yuyan, an official with the ministry.

China has laid a solid foundation for the development of related industries. It has built the world’s largest fibre-optic and 4G networks, with 5G terminal connections already exceeding 200 million. The country has witnessed the rapid development of its software and information technology service industry, electronic information manufacturing sector, and telecommunications service industry. The software sector alone posted an annual revenue of 8.16 trillion yuan ($1.25 trillion) last year, up 13.3 percent year-on-year.

China has also accelerated digital transformation while promoting the development of the industrial internet. The country is home to over 80 industrial internet platforms with more than 350,000 industrial apps, providing strong support for cost reductions and efficiency improvements in a variety of industries.

China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have actively participated in digital transformation and have achieved positive progress, said Gou Ping, an official from the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council.

Gou said SOEs have played a key role in the construction of new infrastructure, including 5G, big data centers, and the industrial internet. Over 80 centrally-controlled SOEs have built group-level data centers and more than 60 industrial internet platforms.

China will promote the rapid growth of its digital economy and strengthen innovative applications of key digital technologies in the future, according to Sun Wei, an official with the National Development and Reform Commission.

The country will also accelerate digital industrialization and industrial digitization and improve its digital governance systems and digital services, Sun added.







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