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Apple’s Siri now helps you to check coronavirus symptoms

iPhone users concerned they might have the coronavirus can now ask Siri for advice.

Apple updated its digital assistant over the weekend to offer more comprehensive help for anyone fearing they may have contracted the virus, formally known as COVID-19.

Now, when you ask Siri a question along the lines of: “Do I have the coronavirus?”, you’ll be asked a series of questions about any symptoms you may be exhibiting.

Siri notes that the questionnaire has been put together using information from the U.S. Public Health Service in association with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

After responding to the yes/no questions — which ask whether you have a dry cough or shortness of breath, or if you’re aware of having come into close contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus — Siri will suggest what steps you should take next based on the answers that you give.

If Siri considers you to be at lower risk for the virus, Apple’s digital assistant will recommend you stay vigilant for certain symptoms while reminding you to wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds each time.

People with symptoms that are not deemed life threatening will be advised to stay home and isolate themselves to see if the symptoms worsen.

If Siri deems your condition life-threatening — in other words if your symptoms include chest pain, breathing difficulties, dizziness, light-headedness, or slurred speech — the assistant will recommend you seek immediate medical attention.

During the exchange, Siri also points you to the App Store where you can download telehealth apps for a virtual consultation, if needed.

The increased functionality appears only to work for iPhone owners in the U.S. at the current time. In the U.K., for example, the same virus-related inquiry leads to Siri directing you to a government website on COVID-19.

Apple has been making changes across its entire business in response to the coronavirus. Earlier this month it told its office workers globally to work from home if possible, and on March 14 it closed all of its stores outside China until at least March 27. But despite the COVID-19 disruption, the tech giant still managed to launch a new iPad Pro.

More information on COVID-19 is provided by the World Health Organization and CDC, while various online trackers offer the latest stats on the spread of the virus.

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