How can we use technology to fight the coronavirus? One of the biggest advantages humans have over this virus is technology, so how can we best deploy our technical ingenuity? Could technology help prevent the spread of COVID-19 while minimising social disruption? Can it help us craft an exit strategy so we can all leave lockdown safely? Can it help support businesses and educational institutions carrying out their activities remotely?

Debating Europe streamed an online debate on this topic on Friday 3 April 2020.

Answering your questions were:

  • Eva Kaili – Member of the European Parliament (S&D, Greece), Chair of the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA)
  • Pearse O’Donohue – Director, Future Networks – European Commission, DG CONNECT
  • Abraham Liu – Huawei Chief Representative to the EU Institutions and Vice-President European Region
  • Professor Jean Louis Koeck – Founder of

You can watch the video above or check out the debate on our Facebook page!

26 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    hafida BENYACOUB

    Good morning. In Belgium Proximus, the Belgian telecom company launched 5G in 30 communes. The company could not stop or be back to their decision because of the willing of investors. Proximus did even if Coronavirus situation stopped activities. France and Uk postponed the launch. maybe rethink it.
    5G was the big challenge of Huawei company in 2019. The Conavirus came cross to the strategy. Your research and development make their effort on technology to fight this virus as I read. The fear of use of some doctors and Belgians want to put the patient in the center not really the technology. How can patients can be sure that the technology can help them without a danger. how can we secure patients in the near future.?

  2. avatar
    Matthias Peschke

    I think technology can play an important role in solving the crisis

  3. avatar
    Filipe Batista

    Are the current constrains produced by Covid-19 delaying the 5G deployment in Europe? Is the Comission considering reviewing the actual road mad for deployment? If yes what would be the impact on the EU digital strategy?

  4. avatar

    The GDPR is getting in the way. It’s poorly thought out and now it’s killing people. You can’t protect people’s privacy if they’re dead.

  5. avatar
    Vivian R. F. Linssen

    I was too busy too attend unfortunately. Only just connected. As I wrote elsewhere, the Covid-19 pandemic is a full blown holistic multicultural integrated interdisciplinary challenge, something that our educational system has not prepared us for… The fact remains that our civilisation is unable to deal with holistic complexity. A fundamental mindset, education and governance revolution is necessary. In that order. This is not going to happen with the present leaders.

  6. avatar
    Elias Zarkadas

    Stop debating. Let the experts work and give them funding.

    We have to create new medical IoT sensors and install them to airports and airplanes. Else economy will die from suffocation than from Covid19

  7. avatar
    Catherine Benning

    Vivian R. F. Linssen

    You are so right. It is beyond their remit of intelligence. As it is for many of us. We in the UK still are not allowed to purchase or receive any kind of testing kit even though many sell them inexpensively. They have been denied the right to supply these kits to individuals, even when this will save government coffers a fortune and they are cheap. The claim is, they ‘may’ not be accurate.

    They will not supply them or allow them to be supplied to GP surgeries for their staff to use.

  8. avatar
    EU Reform-Proactive

    Q: Any groundbreaking revelations by streaming COVID-19 & technology: “Could technology help prevent the spread of COVID-19”?

    A: No, but please judge for yourself. Too many simple answers to a complex problem. Disappointing for me.

    Q: Could COVID-19 be a cover-up to push through 5G in the EU? Marketing both 5G against the advice of the CoE & advertising the usefulness of the EU?

    Q: Shouldn’t DG CONNECT protect all EU individuals, their health & privacy & be innovative?

    Huawei declares 5G a “force for good” (business). The Greens drown in blah blah semantics.

    Q: why ignore Resolution 12608 and press release resolution 1815 dated 2011 by scientist & the Council of Europe (CoE)= not the EU- “to RECONSIDER”?

    Q: Why is Switzerland concerned?

    Q: Shouldn’t the WHO DG Adhanom Ghebreyesus be investigated after the CHINA co-conspirator/lie revelations & resign?

    DE Q: “Carrying out their activities remotely”? Yes, long overdue!

    Has the time come to consider closing the “Brussels circus maximum” (EP) and stream “EU solidarity in action” online from all 27 national parliaments?

    It would comply with “social distancing” & free up taxpayers’ money to help swell my imaginary “EU Compassion fund”.

    But the reality is different.

    As per EU’s president: “EU Solidarity in action”:

    Members MAY borrow their guarantees of EUR 25 billion+ 75 billion in loans from the ECB (to be repaid), the EU a middleman.

    And finally:

    EU leaders please stop misleading us using the incorrect comparison of a “Marshall Plan for Europe” to the 1947 US Marshall Plan= 15% loans + 85% US grants (85%= my illusionary ”EU Compassion fund”) Thank you!

  9. avatar

    L’ike Korea we could tracé people who are infected

  10. avatar

    We could set drive in testing spots on phone

  11. avatar
    EU Reform-Proactive

    Dear Catherine,

    A concerned EU citizen’s reply: (sorry for the lengthy reading + video)

    Let me refer to the slogan ”No experiments” which won the election for Dr. Konrad Adenauer in his early years! It is still valid today.

    K.A: “People are tired of being guinea pigs. It doesn’t mean they don’t want social protection, but first things first.”

    Did the EU deviate from the founder’s principles & how far? How valuable are pearls of wisdom from elder statesmen? Not 16-year+ young wisecracks allowed to vote but wish their parents & grandparent to succumb to COVID-19 as soon as possible! How would K. A react?

    The precautionary principle and the right to a healthy environment is one of the Human Rights set out by the Council of Europe (CoE).

    The “renegade EU” should be compelled “to invoke” and implement them. Are they doing it? Reluctantly? Where is their proof?

    Electrical and electromagnetic fields have proven detrimental effects on humans & the environment. Genuine scientists have evidence, but many pseudo ones
    remain opposed, deny & ignorant.

    Since “Brexit”, the UK remains a member of the Council of Europe and should also implement the CoE resolution 1815. As all responsible EUROPEAN governments outside the EU should do.

    Surely, peaceful protests opposing “non-compliant governments” are justified and necessary. If possible, a test case should be brought before the European Court of Human Rights by a group of “concerned citizens”.

    One wished such issues were discussed during the “DE streaming” instead directly or indirectly promoting 5G (“the technology”), Huawei’s lobbying efforts and pasting over real concerns.

    Not only is the safety of the workers at risk but the safety of the whole population within the 27 EU Members and the other 20 CoE members as well.

    Although time-consuming, one should read CoE Resolution 1815 and all other relevant documents. I’m sure you’ll find your answer!

  12. avatar
    Catherine Benning

    Watch Now: How can we use technology to fight the coronavirus?

    Stop buying manufactured items for our home market. We are quite capable and ready to make these products for ourselves. Including, repirators, masks, medication, toys, clothes, food and every item we need for our everyday life.

    To leave us open this way to another nation is utter madness No matter how bloody cheap they are. Death is no cheap. It is deadly..

    Any politicians this stupid should be placed in the Tower of London for eternity.

    Globalism is ‘not’ where it’s at. That is maniac thinking. Would you have given Hitler the wherewithall to produce our countries necessities? No you would not. And neither would you have allowed his invasion of our society.

    Clean it up and now.

  13. avatar

    Technology helps greatly with social distancing – work or study from home while still staying connected with friends and family. Any vaccine that might be created well also happen with technology – machine learning, etc. In every aspect of our living with and fighting the virus tech is involved…

  14. avatar

    social distancing and individual responsibility is the key, tech is an additional tool, but I understand that nowadays it is fancy to put tech at the center of every discourse. Time to replace fancy narratives by thoughtful ones?

  15. avatar

    We must be prepared for a world without a vaccine for this virus, or the vaccine will take many years to be found.

    • avatar
      Debating Europe

      @Manuel Do you think technology could help us bridge the time until a vaccine is found?

    • avatar

      Of course technology will be more important to all of us.
      I think we need to review and take lessons from history. From other pandemics.
      Especially what happened in Mexico and Latin-America in the 16th century when the Spanish and Portuguese carried a new virus on ships, thus infecting the local natives or pre-Hispanic Indians.
      And we have to look again at what happened in the gold and silver mines of Peru, in that century, with the new virus spreading rapidly and also the forced labor on the local natives who were treated as slaves.
      And then read again what the Portuguese did when they gave up capturing Indians from the Amazon region because they were not good slaves.
      If you look at the statistics today, the largest number of Amerindians or American Indians is in Peru, precisely where the Indians suffered the new European virus and a brutal slavery.
      The least number of Indians today is in the Amazon region and that’s where they were left alone, with no use, no outside contacts, and nothing to sell or serve.
      We cannot hide from the virus in our homes. We cannot close our business, and receive money to survive.
      We must continue to work, without excuses, perhaps even harder, we must be useful to humanity, and endure the few waves to come.
      We risk becoming, in a few years, a set of beautiful villages, with beautiful monuments and a few Europeans to admire, as we do today with the Indians of the Amazon.

  16. avatar

    closing borders works better

  17. avatar

    We get one rapid spreading virus and suddenly all these tracking technologies are being forced down our throats. It seems like a dramatic overreaction. It is also strange that all this technology happens to be ready. There is no technology for tax evaders, no money for the homeless but so much money to track us all.
    As for vaccines everyone who has found out that vaccine testing has been cut short for pandemics can’t help but notice that suddenly any virus is accused of being a pandemic by computer model predictions then it turns out that it is not that bad after all. Plus pandemic vaccines are free from liability. Then the vaccines are promoted via the fear model. Could that possibly be why suddenly there is massive corporation interest in creating vaccines and a push for mandatory vaccines?
    Technology is welcomed in producing vaccines as long as it has been tested for the five years it needs. The Covid-19 vaccine has no business using experimental RNA technology as not only is it not even being tested on animals first as it is rushed on the pandemic vaccine creation protocol. We are not human lab rats and no person on earth has a right to mandate experimental or rushed vaccines.
    I have vaccinated my children with properly tested vaccines. I vaccinated my son with the swine flu vaccine in 2009 when he was one years old. In 2020 I found out that adults and children are suing the vaccine makers for damages from brain damage and narcolepsy and that the rushed vaccine has since been banned in certain countries. Had I known it was a rushed vaccine I wouldn’t have chosen to give it to my son. Obviously I do not trust rushed vaccines now no matter what the technology. It is best to give treatment and test this vaccine for the full 5 years and find out why people with the flu shot have a 36% chance of getting covid-19 and what the implications are for getting other corona viruses after recieving the covid-19 vaccine. Additionally people need to be told that vaccines do not guarantee you will not get the virus – I heard DR Anthony Fauci say it himself in an interview about the flu shot. Just like the UK lied about Brexit we are given half-truths and incomplete information regarding technology and vaccines.

    • avatar
      Debating Europe

      Thank you for your interesting comment, Julia! Do you worry that the tracking technology could be abused by states or companies?

    • avatar

      I feel that private corporations use their wealth to inflict their technologies and visions onto the public and by-passing democracy because they have the purchasing power to do so. In regards to the states, I feel that people’s freedom rights are not considered when it comes to tracking and vaccination. Technology is a positive thing if it is used to free humanity and improve quality of life. Tracking and mandatory anything feels oppressive not freeing. It is not so much that I fear abuse, although that is a possibility that mustn’t be excluded — it is more the loss of freedom, choice and privacy.

    • avatar

      I would like to add that ever since my son got the swine flu vaccine he always got bronchitis or pneumonia whenever he got a cold and was hospitalised on 3 occasions. His susceptibility has only decreased the last two years however he gets an extremely high temperature from a simple sore throat. I recently learned that the common cold, the flu and swine flu vaccines are corona viruses. This leads me to suspect that the swine flu vaccine may also cause vaccine enhancement whereby the vaccine causes more susceptibility and a more severe form of infection. In light of this information the swine flu vaccine needs to be clinically tested to confirm or deny enhancement by an unbiased objective lab. The possibility of the swine flu vaccine causing susceptibility and a more severe form of infection from the coronavirus covid-19 must also be investigated by an unbiased objective lab.

      Additionally I learned that the multi-shot version of the swine flu vaccine contains mercury as a preservative. In light of cutting edge medical science that heavy metals, especially mercury are one of the 36 triggers for Alzheimer’s and that the MTFHR mutation which 40% of the population unknowingly has causes heavy metal detoxification impairments’ — is using mercury wise? Why aren’t vaccines all in a one shot dose without the need for mercury?

      This experience and knowledge has led me to the following conclusion. All vaccines must come with an informational leaflet with full disclosure, full transparency, health warnings and a medical disclaimer — just like any pharmaceutical. People have a right to know the full efficacy, full ingredients, GMO status, known and potential risks, possible side-effects and health conditions it may cause, if new experimental technology is being used, whether it fulfilled the 5 year testing or by-passed it by being classed a pandemic vaccine and whether the vaccine manufacturer obtained freedom from liability. I trusted my Doctor’s advice but in light of the swine flu after-math I realise that was a big mistake. It is my right to have access to the full information so I am aware of what risks I am taking for my child’s or my own health.

      Technology has potential to design tailored vaccines for specific gene variants to ensure safety in any disadvantages or biological impairments that people have. With technology comes responsibility. It is not just about the profits when it affects our long-term health. Vaccines need to be highly regulated and be held to the highest safety standards. What we have is quite the opposite with the ‘pandemic’ safety testing loop-hole. Additionally I suggest that and independent unbiased objective lab funded by tax-payer money should launch an investigation into all these coronaviruses and their susceptibility to vaccine enhancement.

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