Egypt launches automatic testing of coronavirus symptoms in sign language

Testing service uses chatbot technology in sign language and artificial intelligence technology

  
Men wearing protective face masks are pictured in downtown Cairo, amidst concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Egypt, May 2, 2020.

Men wearing protective face masks are pictured in downtown Cairo, amidst concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Egypt, May 2, 2020.

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

An automated testing service for coronavirus symptoms has been launched during a meeting between Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat, Ahmed Fayed, the regional director of Avaya in Egypt and Libya, and the director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Egypt Randa Abul-Hassan.

The testing service uses chatbot technology in sign language and artificial intelligence technology, via the “Wasel” application and the “Tamkeen” website, to enable access for the hearing impaired. The launch comes as part of the ministry’s efforts to support Egypt’s efforts against the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Talaat said that the service comes through cooperation between the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the UNDP and the Avaya International Company. It has been designed to spread community health awareness about coronavirus symptoms among the hearing imparied using smart technology.

He pointed out that this is the first time in the Middle East and Africa that automatic testing for the virus in sign language using chatbot technology is being provided.

It comes in addition to the inquiries service for the coronavirus that is already being provided for the hearing impaired. The service falls under the ministry’s activities to reach all social segments and provide technical services as the country faces the crisis and maintains the health and safety of citizens.

Abul-Hassan added that information technology (IT) is important for its ability to reach out to and reduce the negative effects of the coronavirus, especially for those with disabilities.

She noted that the partnership with the ministry and Avaya will provide an easy-to-use and carefully designed technology to assist the hearing impaired during the global health crisis.

Fayed said that the new testing service highlights the innovative care that Egypt gives to all members of its society. He added that Avaya is proud of the trust the ministry and the UNDP have given it to provide an automated testing service that contributes through technology to protecting society.

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