Apple's Siri and Google Assistant now help if you ask 'Do I have coronavirus?’

·2-min read
Young woman wearing face mask while walking in the streets of London
Your phone may have new features to help you find information on coronavirus (Getty)

Apple and Google have added new functions to their voice assistants built into millions of smartphones to help users worried they may have coronavirus.

In the US, users of Apple phones who ask “Do I have coronavirus?” are directed through a yes/no questionnaire asking about typical symptoms of COVID-19, CNBC reported.

Google users who ask “Do I have coronavirus?” are directed to a page listing the symptoms (persistent cough, high temperature and shortness of breath).

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In the UK, Apple users who ask “Do I have coronavirus?” and similar questions are directed to a page of official government advice about the virus.

The official NHS advice on Android phones cautions: “These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness.

“The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Teens arrested for ‘coughing on elderly couple’

Last week, tech companies including Google, Facebook and Microsoft joined forces to release an unprecedented statement on coronavirus – in the battle against online misinformation.

The statement promised that the tech giants were working together, “jointly combating fraud and misinformation about the virus”.

The statement was released online, and was signed by Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit, Twitter and YouTube.

The joint statement said: “We are working closely together on COVID-19 response efforts. We’re helping millions of people stay connected while also, elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in coordination with government healthcare agencies around the world.

“We invite other companies to join us as we work to keep our communities healthy and safe.”

Facebook said last week that it plans to award $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 small businesses in over 30 countries, in a move aimed to address the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Read more: British volunteers to be infected with coronavirus

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said: “We’ve listened to small businesses to understand how we can best help them.

“We’ve heard loud and clear that financial support could enable them to keep the lights on and pay people who can’t come to work.”

Facebook said companies will be able use cash to pay rent, cover operational costs or run advertising on the social network.

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