WeChat to participate in COVID-19 hackathon in support of WHO

The Chinese super app joins other tech giants looking to develop new software to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

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WeChat has teamed up with the World Health Organization (WHO) for a hackathon to speed up the development of software to fight the coronavirus pandemic, along with other tech giants including Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and Slack.

Open for submission on March 26, the COVID19 Global Hackathon aims to tackle some of the challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic. WeChat and other corporate partners will be contributing resources to support developers looking to participate.

The initiative, hosted by online hackathon provider Devpost, encourages software developers to build projects related to healthcare, vulnerable populations, business, education, and entertainment that can address some of the health crisis’s most pressing problems, says the WHO.

The deadline for submissions is March 30, with highlighted projects to be announced on April 3.

As the coronavirus has spread in China, over 1000 apps and mini programs appeared in the country since the early stage of the outbreak to assist the municipal services, healthcare, and education sectors to deal with the impact of the illness.  

One mini program, dubbed “Anti-Coronavirus Map”, is one example of ad hoc software deployed specifically to fight the pandemic, and allows users to check both nearby cases mask supply nearby. Tencent Health Code, a service embedded in local government’s mini-programs, is another⁠—launched last month to function as an e-document to verify users’ health records and travel histories. It has garnered 10 billion total visits since February.

“Given the isolation currently being experienced within communities right now, we want to create an online space where developers could ideate, experiment, and build software solutions to help address this crisis,” the WHO states on the hackathon website.

The COVID-19 has sickened more than 462,800 people worldwide in at least 171 countries as of Thursday morning, with at least 20,922 people deaths, the New York Times reported.