Artificial Intelligence to help concerted war on COVID-19

Dhaka, April 02 – With a view to helping the government in finding a way out of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic in the country, mobile phone operator Robi has deployed artificial intelligence (AI) powered decision support solution to analyze risk and movement of potential carriers of coronavirus. Getting prediction using the solution, government can easily determine which areas should be under lockdown stringently for halting possible routes of corona contagion by potential carriers. But, the process needs information from people proactively.
The AI-powered data analytics solution was the outcome of extensive collaboration among the ICT Division, a2i and the Ministry of Health at the initiative of Robi, it was disclosed at a digital press conference today.
To expedite the process, meanwhile, a text message from the government is being sent to all mobile phone users seeking health-related information to determine potential carriers of coronavirus.
All 16.62 crore mobile phone users in the country will get the SMS where they will be asked to make a call to *3332# free of cost to provide health information by self-reporting method.
Officials familiar with the process said during the 90-second call users will be asked five questions such as age, whether they have breathing problems, fever or cough, come in contact with any recent returnee from abroad and come close to any COVID-19 infected people.
Speaking about the process, State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP said the analysis and AI-powered solution would help the government to set the next course of action in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The cutting edge technology would provide us with an overall scenario of the country regarding coronavirus which might help the government to adopt measures to stop it,” he said.
Palak requested the people for providing information by self-reporting. “All this information is personal and none of these would be disclosed or shared with anyone or organization.”
“It’s not the time for competition rather it’s for coordination. . . So we should come forward what we have to take preparation to halt COVID-19,” added the state minister.
The analytical solution developed by Robi’s analytics team harnesses data from various government, non-government sources as well as decentralized crowd sources.
Robi said incorporating multiple data sources, including crowdsourcing, will allow their analysts to perform various innovative data visualization exercises to generate insights that the government can readily work on.
“We are confident that government can leverage on our powerful data science-based solution to coordinate their response against COVID19,” it added.
More than just geolocation and mobility information, millions of feature and smartphones provide both historical collection of data and near real-time snapshots can give better insights and more accurate predictions.
Robi said, “Our advance analytics shall also provide deeper insights on various trends and patterns on people, making it possible to make intelligent predictions on the disease.”
The Director-General of Health Services, Professor Abul Kalam Azad said, “We are hopeful that using the data analytics solution Robi has created we will be able to eradicate Coronavirus and I hope other mobile operators will follow the lead.”
a2i’s Policy Advisor, Anir Chowdhury said, “This public-private-academia consortium facilitated by a2i has been working with DGHS on Dengue tracking and with the present COVID-19 situation, the process has been greatly accelerated to expand the country’s comprehensive big data analytics platform to help policymakers better deal with crisis and planning in unprecedented ways.”
Robi and Airtel users, as well as users of other operators, will be able to provide information to the government as part of this project through My Robi App or My Airtel App or Robi’s corporate website ( or Airtel’s website (
In the SMS, users will have also received an URL ( and if anyone is interested, they can share information there.
Based on the reports generated by data analytics solution, Robi may provide on-demand service to its users which will tell them how far they are from nearest Corona affected areas. Robi also has the technical capacity to provide auto-alert service to its users whenever they approach a Corona affected area. However, such service will be made available upon advice from the Government.
Mahtab Uddin Ahmed said, “As part of our drive towards digitalisation, Robi has accumulated a significant amount of expertise in providing AI-powered data analytics solutions.”
“Nothing could have been more satisfying for us than deploying all our expertise and understanding on AI and Data Analytics through this particular project that is dedicated to fight the spread of Coronavirus in the country,” he added.
Robi Chief Corporate and Regulatory Officer, Shahed Alam conducted the online press conference. – Agencies