5G's indispensable role in China's fight against COVID-19
Ouyang Ruize
The first 5G fever clinic has AirFace 5G robot in service in Shanghai, China, June 10, 2020. /AP

The first 5G fever clinic has AirFace 5G robot in service in Shanghai, China, June 10, 2020. /AP

Editor's note: Ouyang Ruize is a Research Analyst at the Institute for Global Cooperation and Understanding (iGCU) of Peking University. The article reflects the author's views, and not necessarily those of CGTN.

Due to the novel coronavirus' long incubation period and strong ability to infect, China has faced great difficulties and challenges in containing the spread of COVID-19, especially in the early stage of the outbreak. To help fight against it, China has used 5G and related technologies to build up a "Great Wall" to reduce the risk of its further spread.

5G technology provides crucial communication support in the fields of emergency command, transportation hinge and hospital management. It also plays a role in safeguarding public health management such as remote control and consultation, big data services, the application of medical robots and infrared thermometers.

5G+ remote consultation

In order to make full use of expert resources from large cities and hospitals, a 5G+ remote consultation system was quickly implemented in many hospitals across the country during the pandemic. With the remote medical equipment covered by the 5G network, experts can interact with patients in real-time and conduct online consultations without entering isolation wards. These consultation cameras are well connected to the 5G CPE equipment for transmitting video signals through the 5G base station.

Furthermore, it also carried out inquiry and diagnosis for severe and critical patients in remote areas. The dual-stream transmission scheme is adopted to transfer both camera video signals and medical diagnosis data which are extremely valuable for providing treatment guidance.

5G+ unmanned vehicles

Based on the combination of 5G and unmanned driving technology, 5G+ unmanned vehicles could carry out a highly automatic unmanned operation and zero-contact work in specific locations, by connecting to the remote operation center through 5G network, functioning as intelligent disinfection, cargo transportation, patrol monitoring, and epidemic prevention broadcasting, which greatly reduces the risk of infection for front-line operators and improves work efficiency.

At present, it has been launched in Wuhan, Xi'an, Shenzhen and other cities.

A 5G wireless communication base station in Qingdao in east China's Shandong Province, May 19, 2020. /AP

A 5G wireless communication base station in Qingdao in east China's Shandong Province, May 19, 2020. /AP

5G+ intelligent medical robot

At hospitals and health service centers in Hubei, Zhejiang, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Shandong and other parts of the country, a kind of big-cartoonish-eye, screen-on-chest, two-wheeled robot has been performing medical services for a while. Combining 5G and artificial intelligence, the robot helps medical staff to conduct consultations, disinfection, cleaning, and deliveries.

Because these tasks are large and tedious, the wide utilization of the intelligent robot can effectively relieve shortages of staff and share the workload which reduces the risk of cross-infection and improves the level of quarantine control in the wards.

5G+ live broadcast

To present the actual situation on the frontlines, 5G+ live broadcast technologies have provided a multi-angle, highly stable and 24-hour network supervisory platform for hundreds of millions of people across the country and the world, to witness the real-time construction site in Huoshenshan Hospital and Leishenshan Hospital in Wuhan since Jan. 28, through the People's Daily, Xinhua News Agency, China Daily and a number of mainstream Chinese media outlets.

The 5G wireless transmission of this live broadcast is more flexibly carried out wherever there is a signal, once again amazing the world that how the fastest-ever-built hospitals in history are accomplished by China speed. With the 5G technological support, it tightly linked people's concern and medical staff in the battlefield to firmly show the determination and confidence in defeating the pandemic. 

5G+ thermal imaging temperature detection

Combining current biometrics technology, thermal imaging temperature measurement, video intelligent analysis, 5G and other technical means, this product is widely used in crowded areas to effectively screen the temperature of a large number of people, identify the anomalies, and transmit the data back to a cloud computing center for recording and monitoring.

Using face recognition, automatic alarm, and contactless temperature detection, the 5G+ thermal imaging temperature detection technology has acted as an outstanding "scout" with the characteristics of high precision, efficiency, safety, reliability and low cost, which helps to build up the first line of defense against COVID-19 with effective prevention and timely control. It's been utilized in hospitals, schools, shopping malls, industrial parks, and public transportation sites such as airports and railway stations.

On March 23, according to the new instructions of the central leading group on COVID-19 pandemic, the current transmission of the domestic epidemic in China, mainly in Wuhan, had been basically blocked, but the risk of sporadic cases outbreaks still existed, and both imported cases and spread within the city should be prevented. In order to gradually restore production and people's normal life, 5G technologies armed with its high speed, low latency, large bandwidth advantages, will continue to play a positive and irreplaceable role in boosting the control and restoration hand in hand, such as online office and school, intelligence community and city.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) made an announcement on promoting the innovative development of 5G tech the following day. As a strategy of "5G+ Medical and Health", MIIT will pursue developing a 5G smart medical system, demonstration network, and accelerating the application of 5G technologies in epidemic early warning, pre-hospital emergency treatment, remote consultation, intelligent image-assisted diagnosis and other medical services.

Faced with the pandemic, China has shown the world the bright prospect of scientific and technological innovation, especially the integration of 5G technology with industries, medical care, education and other vertical fields, which spawned a variety of refreshing and valuable 5G+measures in combating COVID-19 and addressing global public health security.

As a key infrastructure in supporting the transformation into a digital and intelligent society, 5G technologies not only play a prominent role in epidemic containment and the resumption of production, but also exert an extraordinary energy in stabilizing investment, promoting consumption, upgrading facilitation and fostering new drivers for the economic development.

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