Telangana Ramps up the use of AI to trick COVID-19

Telangana, a southern state of India, is betting big on Artificial Intelligence to monitor COVID-19 cases in the state. To this effort, the state health ministry has joined hand with Vera healthcare, a Hyderabad-based startup, which will provide monitoring technology that is on the IoT, smart devices, GDP system, Geo-tagging, all through the use of a centralised application, the COVID-19 Monitoring System. The application has been built in record time to tackle the pandemic, enable live surveillance, monitoring and tracking.


According to Dharma Teja Nukarapu, CEO of Vera healthcare, ‘the analytics by the app also facilitate assurance to the stakeholders by providing the facts and figures in their fingertips.’ The application has also been provided to frontline workers on the ground. The company has recently launched Traveller Tracking System (TTS) to screen railways, bus stations, and the airport and will soon cover all district borders of entry to Telangana, to track and monitor COVID-19 contacts.

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Vera Smart Health has also developed iMASQ (Intelligent Monitoring Analysis Services Quarantine), which is an integrated analysis plus quarantine with AI services to cope with COVID-19 monitoring and surveillance in containment zones. These developments are collaboration initiatives with the Telangana Government to have an effective public health management strategy.

According to reports, the iMASQ Hybrid Healthcare on Wheels is a multipurpose AI unit, designed to provide medication stock, swab collection facility, remote consultation, monitoring, tracking results, lab space and an in-house quarantine berth with ventilator facilities. This will be operated by two on-site government doctors, two Nurses, two pharmacists, four ASHA ANM workers and 2 lab technicians to cover 3,000 to 10,000 houses within a 3 km radius every day.

The healthcare startup is also planning to deploy its staff in each district check posts for effective screening, and to cover all entry ports in Telangana and at Hyderabad airport. Announcing the purpose of TTS and iMASQ, Director of Public Health, Government of Telangana, Dr. G Srinivas Rao said “For the days to come, we are prepared for any volume of a surge in cases by using most powerful and cost-effective surveillance technology to avoid every case being shifted to hospitals. We continuously track, quarantine, isolate the patients in their homes and monitor through live video, audio, vitals, and GPS surveillance to ensure safety to frontline workers.”

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AI to Detect Face Mask Rule Violators

Since the government in the state is already taking major steps to contain the contagious virus from spreading, the Telangana police are now using AI to insist on the compulsory wearing of face mask in public. With the increasing COVID-19 cases in the state, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao has directed the officials of various departments including police to adopt stringent measures to bring the situation under total control at the earliest.

To curtail the situation, wearing of face mask in public has become compulsory and the government has stipulated a penalty of Rs 1,000 for not wearing face mask outdoors. However, the state police department is using the AI software tool that is linked to CCTV cameras installed across the city to identify face mask rule violators. These cameras will flag those not wearing the masks and send an alert to the central command control center at the state police headquarters. This will be then passed on to patrolling personnel to trace the violators either riding bikes or walking on foot.

Moreover, considering reports, the police department has now integrated machine learning into the tool to identify various kinds of masks, towels and handkerchiefs of different colors and with designs. Already, a similar system is in use to detect violators of traffic rules and 3-km limit violators by recognizing the vehicle number plates.