Coronavirus: The Pandemic in the Internet Age

The dreaded COVID-19 (or Coronavirus, as it’s better known), has the world in the grip of fear as events, work, classes, meetings, and other public gatherings are all cancelled.

The World Health Organization has now declared the Coronavirus a pandemic. Due to the disease spreading at an alarming rate across the globe, this was inevitable.

Since the outbreak started in Wuhan, China in December, a staggering 130,000 cases of Coronavirus have been reported, with 70,000 recoveries and 5,000 among them. On our shores alone, our health officials have confirmed 51 individuals have tested positive for the virus.

The influence the virus currently has on sporting events, festivals, conferences, and employers worldwide who has asked staff to work from home, the internet has become our saving grace in a period where fear and fearmongering have become commonplace.

Where society outside of the worldwide web has, in a way, ceased to exist, companies and institutions have moved to a more online platform. Companies like Google Cloud Next are migrating more towards digital-only events, while in Italy – a city with one of the highest recorded numbers of Coronavirus cases outside of China – the Vatican City has resorted towards live-streaming the Pope’s mass service. Schools in China have started rolling out their classes to an online platform.

Environmental activist Greta Thunberg has also started advocating that fellow climate-change campaigners put their health and safety first by moving their climate strikes to an online platform.

This pandemic demonstrates the usefulness of the worldwide web, illustrating that it can be a vital force for good when it needs to be.

From enabling many to work from home to relay useful information about proper hygiene in the wake of the pandemic, the internet has become humanity’s weapon in the battle against the COVID-19 virus.

Yet, to some, the internet is a tool that gets taken for granted. Many do not have access to even the most basic internet connectivity. And, while we advocate for a more isolated, and a more collaborative online work relationship, this highlights our existing digital divide.

There is, however, a silver lining.

With the recent fight for cheaper mobile data, a more connected country is on the horizon. While most individuals do have access to a smartphone or a smart device, affordable data from the biggest service providers brings the idea of a more united and connected country closer to fruition.

If anything, the COVID-19 virus is forcing businesses of all shapes and sizes to adopt a different model whereby employees continue to be productive towards the continued operational effectiveness of the company, only they do this from the comfort of their homes.

It also illustrates the needs for businesses to invest in better technologies and tools to help facilitate this shift.

Up until now, businesses have reacted in a “knee-jerk” fashion where it’s an “end-of-the-world” kind of scenario: close up shop and send everyone home.

Such a reaction doesn’t fit the mould of how we do things in the 21st Century. Still, it does, unfortunately, demonstrate that a wake-up call is needed for business executives to realise just how advantageous digitisation is in the long run.

The precise way forward through the pandemic is a more online-only environment where productivity can still be high without the need to jeopardise the health and safety of a company’s employees. Our only option is to remove these comfort zones that have entrenched our old way of “doing business” in the 21st Century.

If the situation surrounding the Coronavirus gets worse, which is a very tangible possibility, and things go into lockdown mode, business leaders will have to re-examine the role a remote working culture can have in business in the digital age.

It’s a case of not how tech supports individuals who work from home, but how it can make the team who breathes life into a business more efficient at the end of the day.

With that said…

How Will Screamer Assist?

With ICASA understanding the severity of the situation, they have called upon all telecoms and other related service providers to help with relief in this trying, and uncertain time. With the country and the world’s economy essentially coming close to a dead halt, there are those who are required to still work.

ICASA has therefore entreated all of its licencees to provide free electronic communications packages, at their sole discretion.

And, as a licencee, Screamer Telecoms has agreed to assist its business clients by offering free home internet connections for up to 5 employees, included in our Uncapped 20Mbps Business Packages.

These connections will make use of the unusued company bandwidth, ensuring that businesses will remain online and also ensuring that companies stay prepared for when things get truly worse. So when the employees are not at the office using the companies bandwidth they can use it at home for no extra charge.

ICASA has heard of Screamers initiative and has asked us to make this offer available to non-Screamer clients which we have done.

Click here to learn more about this initiative