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


Subscribers only

Cyril & co rise as Ace’s plot bombs

Magashule’s group and ANC outsiders have made moves to get the president and others to also stand aside

Q&A sessions: Where are the Zuckerbergs of South Africa?

Haroon Meer, the founder of the multimillion-dollar startup Thinkst, talks about international acclaim and South Africa’s need for more tech builders

More top stories

Africa could produce a Covid-19 vaccine sooner than you think

In mere months, Moderna transformed an old Polaroid factory in America into a state-of-the-art vaccine-production centre. Why can’t we do the same?

Condemnation of UCT lecturer misses context

Groups slam UCT professor’s Hitler comment without an understanding of the lecture’s purpose

Environmental organisations demand halt to unnecessary plastic production

NGOs are calling on the department of environment to introduce stricter measures for companies manufacturing and using plastic products

Ramaphosa announces ‘substantial changes’ to armed forces leadership

The SANDF has made headlines over the past year for all the wrong reasons. The new appointments to the Military Command Council aim to offer stability

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…