Coronapp is a new online platform for accessing accurate information about Covid-19

In an effort to quell panic and provide South Africans with reliable and accurate information about the coronavirus (Covid-19), two University of Cape Town (UCT) alumni have built Coronapp, an online platform for sharing information about the disease.

Engineering graduates Tamir Shklaz and Wisani Shilumani are the brains behind Coronapp. Shklaz recently graduated from UCT with a degree in electrical and computer engineering. “I am incredibly passionate about empowering people through the use of technology and education,” he said. 

Shilumani graduated from UCT in 2017 with a degree in mechanical engineering. The duo both have previous experience in app development and wanted to do their bit to help combat misinformation about Covid-19. 

“We saw a great deal of misinformation about the outbreak and the nature of the virus circulating on social media. The fake news around the outbreak not only created a great deal of uncertainty but was incredibly dangerous; there were trends such as gargling bleach or supposed home remedies that could cure the virus,” the developers said.

The app’s target audience is concerned South African citizens who are seeking reliable and up-to-date information about the Covid-19 outbreak. It “is a centralised repository for relevant and accurate information regarding Covid-19 in South Africa. Its purpose is to make reliable information highly accessible to South Africans to help people and prevent panic.”


Coronapp not only informs people of the basic facts about Covid-19, but encourages people to practise social distancing to lessen the load on the South African healthcare system. This approach has now become the law, after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of a 21-day lockdown, effective from midnight on Thursday March 26.

At the time the Coronapp was created, there wasn’t a centralised platform providing individuals with reliable, up-to-date information. Because of their software-development backgrounds, the two duo knew a well-built platform could help South Africans protect themselves and their families from the outbreak.

It took Shklaz and Shilumani one weekend to build the app. They worked around the clock from morning until late at night, throughout the weekend. However, app development is an ongoing process of adding features that are most helpful to people using it. The Twitter section shows tweets exclusively from the national department of health. This ensures only accurate information is displayed in real-time, as the government releases more reports.

covid-19 in sa

The other news available on the app is sourced from a variety of publications. The Coronapp shares only high-quality, understandable and actionable information that could help answer the following questions: What is coronavirus? How can I protect myself and others? What is social distancing and how do I implement it? What are some of the myths around the coronavirus? What are the most up-to-date actions of the South African government in response to the virus?

The platform has already helped thousands of South Africans. However, with the help of a large partner, the creators believe the platform can make a significant difference in the fight against the outbreak. They are currently searching for institutional partners, such as government, nonprofit organisations or large companies, to help raise funding for further development of the platform and to spread awareness. 

The Coronapp is just one of many global efforts to provide reliable, accurate information about the coronavirus pandemic. Locally, fact-checking outfit Africa Check has collated all its coronavirus fact-checks in one place, and Media Hack has also created a coronavirus dashboard using department of health data. 

— This is an edited version of a story released by UCT’s communication and marketing department 

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Covid-overflow hospital in ruins as SIU investigates

A high-level probe has begun into hundreds of millions of rand spent by the Gauteng health department to refurbish a hospital that is now seven months behind schedule – and lying empty

Q&A Sessions: ‘I should have fought harder for SA vaccine’...

Professor Salim Abdool Karim talks to Nicolene de Wee about his responsibility as head of the ministerial advisory committee tasked with guiding the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

More top stories

‘No one took us seriously’: Black cops warned about racist...

Allegations of racism against the Capitol Police are nothing new: Over 250 Black cops have sued the department since 2001. Some of those former officers now say it’s no surprise white nationalists were able to storm the building

Pay-TV inquiry probes the Multichoice monopoly

Africa’s largest subscription television operator says it is under threat amid the emerging popularity of global platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime

​No apology or comfort as another Marikana mother dies without...

Nomawethu Ma’Bhengu Sompeta, whose funeral will be held this weekend, was unequivocal in calling out the government for its response to the Marikana massacre

Children may benefit when parents share their digital gaming...

Digital games can provide forums for diverse groups of people to come together, which is especially important while our physical activities are restricted
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…