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China Uses Twitter and WeChat to Track Users Who Share Information About COVID-19

China using WeChat, Twitter to track people sharing COVID-19 info

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China WeChat Twitter
China is making use of Twitter and WeChat to track down people who share information about the coronavirus epidemic. Pixabay

In a bid to hunt down novel coronavirus critics, China is making use of Twitter and WeChat to track down people who share information what officials consider as “negative information” about the deadly outbreak.

People who have shared information about the virus that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan describe relatively tame social media interactions that nonetheless resulted in both direct and indirect responses from the Chinese government, the Vice reported on Monday.

The outbreak of novel coronavirus has become a subject of disagreement in China, also giving way to online protests like the one following the death of whistleblower Li Wenliang racking up angry reactions that are then swiftly taken down.

The hashtag “I want freedom of speech” spread on the Chinese social media site Weibo in the hours after Li’s death, racking up two million posts that were removed by the following day, The Verge reported quoting NPR.

China WeChat Twitter
People who have shared information on WeChat or Twitter about the virus that originated in Chinadescribe relatively tame social media interactions. Wikimedia Commons

According to reports, a man based in the country said that officials visited him at his home in the industrial city of Dongguan after he responded to a tweet that was critical of how the Chinese officials handled the spread of coronavirus.

The officials told him that his tweet was an attack on the Chinese government. His phone was confiscated, and he was forced to sign a statement saying he would not repeat the so-called threat, the Vice report added.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus outbreak has handed a blow to the tech industry. The MWC 2020 in Barcelona had to be cancelled after the outbreak spread.

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The coronavirus death toll in mainland China has increased to 2,663 with 77,658 confirmed cases, health authorities said on Tuesday.

The National Health Commission said that it received reports of 508 new cases and 71 deaths on Monday from 31 provincial-level regions on the mainland. (IANS)

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India’s Lockdown Disrupts Functioning of Amazon and Flipkart

Amazon India Delivery and functioning of Essential Goods via. E-commerce companies Disrupted

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Virus Outbreak Amazon
India's coronavirus lockdown is disrupting e-commerce companies including Amazon and Flipkart. Pixabay

India’s coronavirus lockdown is disrupting e-commerce companies including Amazon and Flipkart, despite government assurances it would not, four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Differing state and district level regulations relating to the 21-day lockdown, which began on Wednesday, are hindering operations, the sources said on Friday, with e-commerce firms finding it difficult to get curfew passes for delivery staff.

The disruptions highlight the difficulties of ensuring the supply of essential goods to 1.3 billion people during the shutdown in India, which has so far reported 724 cases of coronavirus and 17 deaths. Most of Amazon’s 60 plus fulfillment centers in India are shut and the U.S. company is in talks with state authorities to try to reopen them, three of the sources said. Industry executives say local authorities have not followed guidelines, stopping deliveries and warehouses from operating.

Virus Outbreak Amazon
A sign is lit on the facade of an Amazon fulfillment center. VOA

“It’s worse than one can think,” one source said, while a second added that only a “miniscule” number of Amazon warehouses were operating, citing this as a key reason for disruptions. Even when operations do begin to return to normal, it will only be in major cities, the second source added.

Amazon said in a statement that its top priority was to deliver the products which customers need the most and it was seeking urgent help from federal government and local authorities with detailed on-the-ground operating procedures. In New Delhi, Amazon’s Pantry service was suspended and the delivery slot for essential goods, such as oil and soaps, was shown as being April 26.

“There are clear guidelines provided by Government to enable essential services, and so we are working with the relevant authorities to ensure we are able to operate,” Amazon said on Twitter in response to questions from users in India.

Indian trade minister Piyush Goyal held a meeting with e-commerce executives on Thursday and said the government was “committed to ensuring that essential goods reach the people.”

Also Read- Effects of Quarantine on Mental Health and Relationships

Walmart-owned Flipkart has also been hit, with some grocery items which had been available earlier on Friday in New Delhi intermittently going out of stock. A source familiar with the situation said Flipkart was facing challenges with last-mile delivery of goods once they leave its warehouse due to restrictions on movement.

Flipkart said in a statement it had resumed grocery operations and there was a significant spike in orders. “We are enhancing capacity to meet the increase in customer requirements,” it said, adding it had received support from local and federal authorities.  (VOA)