NIC’s tech solutions helping govt combat COVID-19 crisis- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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At a time when the entire country is facing unprecedented challenges due to coronavirus outbreak, the government agencies are on their toes to aid the Central, state and district agencies to continue rolling out essential citizen services.
The rapid spread of COVID-19 has forced many countries to use cutting edge technologies to fight against the pandemic, keep an eye on the citizens and keep them indoors to contain the deadly disease.
On March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a 21day lockdown to arrest the spread of the Covid-19 in the country. Lockdown was a need of the hour. Since then, right from government to private organisations and up-to every single individual, are extending their support to contain the spread of the virus.
In such times, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s (MeitY) technical arm, Tempemail Informatics Centre (NIC) is leveraging technology at its best to assist the government-run institutions to carry out essential tasks during the lockdown. It is supporting the government during this hour of crisisthrough its ICT solutions and infrastructural capability. Through its technology-enabled services and platforms, NIC has been successful in creating a sustainable ecosystem to a large extent. This technology powered ecosystem which the government and its organisations have embraced over a period, is helping them combat these challenging times.
As soon as the lockdown was announced, services such as, video conferencing, started creating a huge positive impact across ministries and departments, both at the Central and state government level. Prime Minister is leading the way by extensively using video conferencing service to connect with the administration at all levels and the citizens at large thereby monitoring the entire COVID-19 situation closelyand assuring them of all possible support by the government.
NIC’s video conferencing has been used extensively by cabinet ministers to chief ministers, cabinet secretary, state ministers, other secretaries and government officials. In March itself, NIC helped in facilitating over 2,300 video conferencing sessions of over 60,000 hours across the country, held at all levels of governance. Besides video conferencing, various dedicated COVID-19 war rooms have been established where senior government officials are monitoring and reviewing COVID-19 preparedness and planning further course of action in their respective regions. At a time, when staying at home is the need of hour, NIC’s video conferencing service and war rooms are helping government officials to connect effectively with each other, thereby ensuring minimum physical contact and exposure.
Similarly, the Public Financial Management System (PFMS) team worked towards providing round the clock assistance, facilitating smooth functioning of the financial machinery of the government. PFMS achieved a major milestone recording the highest number of transactions in a single day on March 30, 2020 of 2.19 crore transactions surpassing the earlier mark of 98.19 lakh on March 28, 2018 which was so far the highest. PFMS also crossed the figure of 100 crore transactions in a financial year on March 30, 2020, a quantum leap of more than 55 per cent over last fiscal year’s transactions of 69.69 crore.
NIC’s eMail services form the primary backbone for all communications in the government catering to a userbase of over 2.7 million users. Since the day the government announced a nationwide lockdown and employees started working from home, NIC’s email services have ensured smooth communication for the government with features such as communication of messages, sharing of files both as attachments (allowed file size of 25 MB) and briefcase (allowed size of 1 GB).
A senior official from NIC explained how business continuity was ensured even when daily email transactions climbed from 2.13 crore on March 21 to 4.58 crore on March 24, recording an increase of about 115 per cent in the overall traffic. Similarly, as the government launched significant awareness campaigns through SMSfor preventing the spread of corona virus, the average SMScount per day after lockdown increased to 7.2 crore from around 3.3 crore a day before lockdown.
Not only the Centre but many states have also benefitted from NIC’s ICT initiatives. Various state level services, backed by NIC’s state and district level teams, are also working tirelessly to create the impact that will help in containing the COVID-19. Meghalaya’s COVID-19 transmission chain prevention, developed by NIC, has enabled Meghalaya citizens who had returned to the parent state (students and professionals) to self-register themselves during their entry to the state and also the tourists who had visited the Meghalaya before the closure of all the tourist spots. It enabled health department officials like medical volunteers and district surveillance team members to reach out to registered individuals through the automated IVRS calls to capture their health status, especially COVID symptoms and update the information in the portal.
NIC is also associated with immigration and visa services at all Indian immigration check posts in the country and Indian Embassies across the world through its Immigration Visa Foreigners Registration & Tracking (IVFRT) service. As soon as the cases of coronavirus infection were reported in the country, NIC ensured all time service continuity at immigration check posts and data centres. The team at NIC, made necessary modifications in the IT applications for temporary suspension of all Indian visas and restricting passengers at all check points across the country.
In its endeavor to support the government with the best of ICT services, NIC has recently developed a website ‘Lifeline Udan’ for the Ministry of Civil Aviation to ensure seamless coordination among various agencies for transportation of items, including COVID-19 reagents and other medical equipment. The website allows state governments and airlines to upload their consignment and flight details in advance.
In its fight to efficiently monitor and track the spread of COVID-19, the Centre has launched AarogyaSetu-a mobile app. It is aimed to connect health services and citizens. The app is privacy-first by design and is currently available in 11 different languages. Within a few days of its launch, more than one crore individuals have already downloaded it. This app will enable the citizens to self-assess the risk of catching the coronavirus infection, at a preliminary stage. It will calculate a health score based on an individual’s interaction with others, using cutting edge Bluetooth technology, algorithms and artificial intelligence.
As the nation shows a steely resolve and fights the challenge to minimise the impact of COVID-19, technology has substantially proved to be a useful ally for not only the citizens but also the organisations.

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Telangana Govt intensifies drive for COVID 19 surveillance using smart app ·- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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In a major COVID-19 pandemic Public Health initiative, the Public Health and Family Welfare Department, Govt of Telangana, invested swiftly to deploy India’s first automated “COVID – 19 Monitoring System App” developed by Vera Smart Healthcare to identify, undertake live surveillance, track, monitor, and provide real-time analytics to Chief Minister and the Health Department.
“COVID – 19 Monitoring System App”, developed in a record time to deal with the pandemic, enables live surveillance, monitoring, tracking, reporting, and major bulletins. The analytics by the app also facilitate assurance to the stakeholders by providing the facts and figures in their fingertips.
The system empowers each health-caller to handle 1500+ calls, and simple chatbot interaction every day with a patient, to ensure that the symptomatic or confirmed ‘positive’, quarantined and is under treatment, helping to strengthen the COVID contacts outreach significantly. The callers will also persuade and remind the patient to self-administer the prescribed treatment, to maintain social distancing, as well as give a reminder to stay home and stay safe.
This user-friendly app is developed by the US and Hyderabad based, early stage start-up Vera Smart Healthcare, which had earlier helped Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu, to create detailed health profiles for more than 50000 people across these 3 states in a record number of days.
Vera has introduced the first-ever mobile hospital in India to help increase healthcare accessibility in rural areas covering most of the Indian villages. The company focuses on building smart hospitals in India along with its technology partner Fellow.
Announcing the successful deployment of Vera’s COVID – 19 Monitoring System App, Director of Public Health Dr. G Srinivas Rao, for COVID surveillance, commended Vera Smart Healthcare expertise to handle COVID surveillance complexities, understand the protocol, and developing the technology platform in a record of 3 days.
The system has helped us first, track and monitor the foreign returnees; community spread and already hospitalised for severe acute respiratory infection (SARS) very early to control spread of COVID pandemic in the state.”
“Vera Centralised COVID Monitoring System is a timely technology innovation, eased the pain off by effective surveillance, and deploy a meticulous tech-enabled method to collate vital data, at the click of a button empowering active associates across the state, from the hierarchical polity to bureaucracy to the front line ASHA & ANM workers, to make COVID – 19, a history.” Dr. Srinivas stated
“The Monitoring System which is built on a digital platform, erases human errors, and provides accurate information. The quick turnaround, and the innovative psyche, has initiated improved surveillance, tracking – effective monitoring, and supervision.” Dr. Srinivas added.
Explaining its benefits, Dharma Teja Nukarapu, Founder and CEO of Vera Healthcare stated “Our technology is based on IoT, Smart devices, GPS and Geotag via a super lite centralized App – COVID – 19 Monitoring System, which is installed in the phones of all associates from the ground level till the Chief Minister’s Office. The system was built by Vera in record time. Every stakeholder got comprehensive training on using the App.”
“Among the vital features of the app is Geotagging and GPS tracking of the home quarantined person, to ensure that he/she is not breaching the law of quarantine. With instant trace and trackability, accurate information is pushed to the authorities even if there is a breach. Every detail reported –reaches the Chief Minister’s Office through various updaters like the ASHA worker, Doctor, Police, concerned Bureaucrat.”
“Vera Healthcare is now readying to release a batch of “SMART PATCH” which tags the patient geographically, monitors and disseminates his / her real-time health progress” Dharma Teja added.
COVID -19 Monitoring System – Touch Points· ASHA and ANM worker – at the frontline: At any given point of time, around 1500-2000 of these workers use the App. A total of more than 5000 ASHA ANM workers are involved, and are using the App to identify, register, track, monitor and report the health condition of the patients who are home quarantined for symptoms
· PHC sub-center – Around 4800 in number, receive data from the ASHA workers, push them to the next level.· PHC – Public Health Centre, 886 in the state, flows out the data to the District Medical Health Office.
· DMHO – the officer-in-charge takes charge of the situation in the respective districts by following the concerned hierarchical officer at the Health Department, to whom the data is transmitted.

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NSW govt, ANZ trial national one-stop death notification service – Software- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The NSW government has begun piloting a new service that will eventually allows citizens to notify government agencies and other organisations across Australia when a family member or friend passes away.
Customer service minister Victor Dominello took to social media on Tuesday to kick off the first pilot of the national death notification service with ANZ Banking Group to simplify the process of dealing with deceased estates.
The beta service has been developed by the Department of Customer Service in collaboration with Births, Deaths and Marriages agencies across Australia to remove the need for individuals to visit an ANZ branch to settle accounts.
It is ultimately intended to transition into a fully-fledged ‘tell us once’ service that allows citizens to notify government agencies, financial institutions, utilities and other subscription-based services when a person dies.
“Ultimately we want more financial institutions and other organisations to come on board,” Dominello said.
“This way you notify the NDNS – and it will notify other organisations subject to your consent.”
The service works by matching details about the deceased person against the Australian Death Check register, an equally new system developed by Queensland’s Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

The national register, which like the notification service is still in a trial phase, holds 2.5 million death records dating back to 2000 from Births, Deaths and Marriages agencies across Australia.
It currently allows agencies and eligible commercial entities to verify information against death certificates issued in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia through approved data brokers.
Fraud and identity verification firm GBG last month said it was one of the first brokers to be participating in the soft launch of the national register, which will act as a single source of truth for death records.

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Goa govt launches app to track quarantined suspects- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Amid repeated pleas by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant urging those in home-quarantine not to leave their homes, the state Health Department has launched COVIDLocator, a GPS-based app to keep track of quarantined persons.
“The app will help in tracking suspected and asymptomatic carriers of coronavirus when they leave their quarantine zone,” a statement issued by the state Health department said, adding that the app had been developed by the Goa government in association with Delhi-based Intugine technologies.
There are more than 1000 patients currently in quarantine in Goa, both at their respective homes as well as in government facilities.

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NSW govt delays release of first-ever AI strategy – Strategy- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The NSW government has pushed back the release of the state’s first-ever artificial intelligence strategy to give itself more time to consider the complex ethical implications of the technology.
The Department of Customer Service began developing the strategy, as well as a complementary ethics policy framework, last year to govern the use of AI in the public sector.
The strategy aims to help agencies “harness the power of AI” to improve service delivery, while ensuring basic human rights around privacy and security aren’t trampled in the process.
It will outline the government’s vision and key actions to be implemented at both a whole-of-government and agency level over the next 12 months.
The department has worked with other agencies, as well as industry and academia, over the past couple of months to understand potential risks and opportunities with the technology.
The strategy was expected to be released in February, alongside a complementary AI user guide and AI policy statement.
But all mention of the February launch date has since disappeared from the digital.nsw website and replaced with “mid-2020”.
The department has similarly “revised” the release of its smart infrastructure policy and the NSW Telco Authority’s operational communications strategy to mid-2020.
A spokesperson told iTnews the department was forced to delay the release of the AI strategy to further consider the ethical implications and the role of the technology in the public service.
“While the stakeholder and community engagement undertaken to date has been encouraging, it has also reinforced the complexity of issues at stake,” the spokesperson said.
“As such, we have had to allow more time for development of the framework and internal consultation on its application.”
A number of agencies across government, including Service NSW, Transport for NSW (TfNSW) and Revenue NSW, are already using AI and machine learning for aspects of their day-to-day operations.
At Service NSW, AI is currently used to improve the knowledge available to staff when they interact with citizens, though the agency is looking to provide AI-powered service directly to citizens in the future.
TfNSW, however, is using machine learning technology from Amazon Web Services to plan and cope with sudden changes across Sydney’s public transport network.
While the government will take more time to develop the AI strategy, it has recently released a new Internet of Things policy as part of its updated Beyond Digital strategy.
The policy provides public servants with “guidance on how to deliver IoT-enabled solutions, build capability and encourage innovation across the sector”.

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Only 14% of people globally believe govt is ‘very prepared’ to deal with Coronavirus- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Only 14% of people globally believe that their government is ‘very prepared’ to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. In Japan this is just 5%, in the UK it is just 6% and in America it’s fewer than 1 in 10 (11%) according to “Human Truths in a Time of Coronavirus: Part 1”. The new study, released today by McCann Worldgroup’s global intelligence unit – McCann Worldgroup Truth Central – explores global and generational attitudes regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Just 31% of people globally say their country is prepared to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. People in India (55%) and Turkey (51%) are most likely to say their country is prepared.
This data indicates a crisis of faith in institutions and political leadership across the globe with 61% globally agree that “I am responsible for my own safety” vs. 39% who believe “institutions must keep us safe.”
“While every crisis is different, there tends to be a logical sequence in human response – denial comes first, then panic, adaptation and, finally renewal,” said chairman and CEO, McCann Worldgroup, Harris Diamond. “The business world can play a pivotal role in providing value and even comfort in each of these stages by understanding the specific sentiments this unprecedented pandemic has generated and responding to the unique needs of consumers during this uncertain time. Armed with cultural context and information, brands can build meaningful connections with consumers now that will continue long after the crisis.”
Harjot Singh, chief strategy officer, Europe & UK, McCann Worldgroup, said, “Even though this is a pandemic affecting everyone across the world – we are very sensitive to the fact that people across our region are at different stages of experiencing this – in varying ways and to varying degrees of intensity. The implications are therefore just as nuanced for brands across the region too.
“We have designed and deployed this study so that the data that emerges from it enables us to better understand the complexity as it relates to the human condition at the heart of experiencing this pandemic. It is meant to place our clients in a position of strength to act with the degree of agility, precision, speed and authenticity that is needed at time such as these.”
Citizens stepping up
In an attempt to protect themselves and people around them, people are taking a range of precautions in response to virus fears. 76% of people globally say they’re washing their hands regularly and using hand sanitizer, 59% of people globally are staying away from public places, 32% of people globally say they’ve tried to boost their immune system and 30% of people globally are calling family members to inform and update them.
At the same time, despite their growing fears and anxiety, many are trying to find the silver lining and remain positive. More than 90% of people can see some positives associated with the pandemic; 54% believe we will all have a chance to reflect on what really matters in life, 39% are looking forward to spending more time with family, 37% are celebrating the reduction in carbon emissions, 17% are enjoying all of the new Coronavirus memes, 14% are focusing on their faith (rising to 1 in 3 in America) and12% are pleased to get time off of work.
Economic fears top fears about loss of life
However, despite this positivity, there is still much anxiety. The top concerns globally are:

48% believe the economy will suffer
43% worry lots of people will die
32% are concerned that the “vulnerable” will be isolated
21% worry that they will lose their job or struggle financially
28% worry that they will run out of supplies,
14% have concern that people will become more racist.

People in the United States (56%), Canada (54%), and Japan (54%) are most worried that the economy will suffer. Those in Argentina (53%) and the UK (52%) are most concerned that lots of people will die.
Japanese (35%) and Canadian (29%) citizens are most worried they will lose their jobs and 47% of people in Japan are worried that they will run out of necessary supplies. Fewer than 1 in 5 globally (18%) globally believe their employer is acting in their best interest
Young people overall are more worried that they will lose their job or struggle financially compared to older people:

Young people are also more worried that levels of racism will increase as a result of the pandemic. In the United States, 22% of people aged 18-24 are worried people will become more racist, compared to 10% of people aged 45-54. In Spain, 17% of people aged 18-24 are worried people will become more racist, compared to 9% of people aged 45-54.
In the United States, 39% of young people (25-34) have reported concern about losing their job or struggling financially compared to 12% of older people (45-54).
In India, 23% of young people (25-34) are worried about losing their job or struggling financially compare to 16% of older people (45-54).

The pandemic journey
Interestingly, the attitudes of each country are strongly correlated with the current phase of the pandemic that they are navigating. Collectively, 1 out 3 people globally (36%) believe that ‘if they catch coronavirus, they’ll be ok.’
The least likely to agree with this statement are those in countries where the virus has been active the longest—Japan (13%) and Italy (19%); while the majority of people in the United States (58%), Canada (54%), and the U.K. (47%) are likely to think they’ll be ok if they catch coronavirus.

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Govt of Puducherry Partners with Innovaccer to Launch Self Assessment App for COVID-19- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Puducherry adopts an automated technological solution for the citizens to carry out self-assessment tests for COVID-19 and assists them in identifying their next steps to stay safe from the virus.
The Government of Puducherry has partnered with Innovaccer, Inc., a leading San Francisco-based healthcare technology company, to prevent the spread of the virus by providing patients with self-evaluation assessments and monitoring vulnerable citizens. With Innovaccer’s ‘COVID-19 Management System’ and its evidence-based self-evaluation assessments, the government will identify the at-risk patient population based on details such as patients’ travel history, chronic conditions and more.
The applications will empower patients with relevant information such as prevention guidelines and details on quarantine facilities and assist them in taking the next step accordingly without having to visit a healthcare facility physically.
“In this time of the pandemic, we are with our citizens and the entire nation is united against the COVID-19 virus. This partnership with Innovaccer is one of the key steps in that direction. With our digital initiative, every citizen can take charge of their own health and help them take the precautionary steps against the novel Coronavirus to eventually eradicate it,” says Shri. V. Narayanasamy, Hon’ble Chief Minister, Puducherry.
“In the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, the partnership with Innovaccer will boost our initiatives to help every citizen fight the pandemic. When citizens are enabled to test their health conditions, not only can they prevent any adverse situation, but can help the physicians and the nation in this crucial time,” says Shri. M.O.H.F. Shahjahan, Hon’ble Minister for Revenue, Puducherry.
“We are partnering with Innovaccer to assist our doctors and medical staff in treating the patients all across the union territory by equipping them with the right technology. With Innovaccer and their smart technology, the citizens will be able to conduct primary assessments of their health and take the best possible decision to stay protected from the COVID-19,” says Dr. T. Arun, I.A.S, Secretary (Revenue/R&R)-cum-District Collector, Puducherry.
“The only way we can defeat the COVID-19 pandemic is through collaboration and bringing everyone together to care as one,” says Abhinav Shashank, CEO at Innovaccer. “We are truly honored and proud to become the partners of the Union Territory of Puducherry. After the high adoption rates of the app in the state of Goa, we are optimistic that this partnership will play a key role in curbing this pandemic and keeping citizens safe.”

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Woolworths pushes banks, govt to raise tap-and-go limit from $100 to $250 – Finance – Hardware- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Woolworths has asked the government and banks to raise the limit of contactless card transactions from $100 to $250 to prevent hundreds of thousands of customers interacting with PIN pads during a pandemic.
CEO Brad Banducci told ABC Radio’s Drive program yesterday afternoon that the idea had been raised during a 1.30pm meeting yesterday by the Supermarket Taskforce.
Formed by the Department of Home Affairs earlier this week, the taskforce aims to break the retail logjam with “representatives from government departments, supermarkets, the grocery supply chain and the ACCC” on the body.
Banducci saw raising tap-and-go payment limits as important and believed previous barriers to doing so would fall away.
“We’re encouraging tap-and-go [bcause] the less touchpoints there are, the less risk there is of course in the store,” he told ABC Radio.
On the current $100 limit without needing to use a PIN, Banducci said: “This is an issue we raised at the supermarket government taskforce at 1.30 today. 
“We’ve asked the government to work with us to see whether we can raise the limit to $250 actually, and if we did that, there would be 350,000 less physical interactions required between our customers and a PIN pad.”
Banducci did not immediately quantify the time period that 350,000 number referred to.
“I’m not saying we’re going to [raise the limit] but it is one of the things that we’ve raised the financial institutions as well as the government [as] just another small measure that will help,” Banducci said.
However, quizzed on whether he thought authorities were receptive, Banducci said: “I think we’re really coming together as a community and as a society over the last week. 
“It’ll happen – in my view it’s just a question of when. 
“It’s a question of hours or days.
“We’re not in the ‘if’ anymore, which I think is very pleasing.”

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Apple, Google and others partner with Ad Council and US govt to expand coronavirus messaging- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google are among the leading tech digital platforms to partner with the Ad Council and US government agencies to extend the reach and impact of Covid-19 response messaging.
The platforms working with the White House, US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) include Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, SiriusXM and Pandora, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter and Verizon Media, among others, to create messaging to help in communications about the coronavirus.
From custom filters to emojis to influencer content, the digital and technology partners are leveraging their tools to connect their audiences with potentially life-saving messages to help slow the spread of the virus.
“We have seen the media industry come together time and time again to address the most critical issues facing our country, and the Covid-19 pandemic is no exception,” said Lisa Sherman, president and chief executive of the Ad Council. “These digital and technology platforms have generously donated their talents and reach to empower millions of Americans to stay safe, informed and connected.”
This is part of the Ad Council’s ongoing response to the Covid-19 crisis, working with the country’s largest digital platforms and broadcast media networks to ensure the American public is receiving crucial and vetted information.
While each platform is providing customized support, the common goal is to drive audiences to coronavirus.gov, a centralized resource from HHS and the CDC.
Donated media also includes Cadreon, EMX (a division of Engine Group), and The Trade Desk, which are building private marketplaces for publishers to donate media inventory. Acxiom, Crossix and Fluent are donating audience targeting segments through LiveRamp to help reach millennials and those who are at higher risk for Covid-19. Plus, DoubleVerify and IAS are leveraging their ad blocking technologies to serve campaign messages across a breadth of publisher sites.
An influencer segment of the campaign will find popular talent – including Noah Cyrus, Taylor Bennet, Michelle Williams, Giannina Gibelli, Shubham Goel and Joey Sasso – who are starring in an upcoming PSA around social distancing. Created in partnership with Pereira O’Dell, the PSA will be supported by donated media from Facebook and Google/YouTube.
“We are always at our best when we respond to challenges as a community,” said Tara Walpert Levy, vice-president, agency and brand solutions, Google and YouTube. “Right now, helping people get the right information to stay healthy is more important than ever.”

YouTube’s coronavirus messaging

Custom content creation will come from Pandora, who will make custom audio assets for media partners, an interactive campaign from Reddit, including a front page takeover, and a custom emoji from Twitter for the #AloneTogether hashtag. In addition, Snapchat will feature content on its app and Verizon Media is creating #AloneTogether content to be shared across its ecosystem of brands.
“Public health officials have made clear how important it is that young people take this seriously – and that they have a key role to play in helping stop the spread,” said Jennifer Stout, vice-president of global public policy at Snap Inc. “We are committed to helping Snapchatters do their part, by providing fact-based news and information from trusted sources on our content platform, along with creative tools and experiences that help raise awareness for our community to protect themselves, their loved ones and the greater public.”

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Telstra reveals 20x call volume increase to govt call centres – Telco/ISP- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Telstra is working to improve interconnection, capacity and routing of voice calls as its networks are hammered by large increases in call volumes.
Telstra said in a statement that mobile call volumes “on certain routes and geographies are up by more than 50 percent”. 
In addition, it said, “specific numbers to Government call centres are experiencing three times the call volumes compared to last week, and over 20 times the normal call volume.”
“As a result, we’re seeing congestion impacting a small proportion (3-4 per cent) of calls on our mobile network, with most of the congestion being driven by the high number of calls to Government 13 and 1800 numbers,” the telco said.
“There is no impact on data as yet.”
Telstra said it is working with Optus “to fast-track upgrades to our interconnection capabilities which is contributing to this congestion”.
“We are continuing to push for a resolution urgently with them,” Telstra said.
“Yesterday we [also] made significant improvements to capacity and call routing on our network, which has allowed us to manage the significantly higher call volumes.”
Optus said in a statement of its own that “as Australians move to working from home and connect with each other digitally instead of face-to-face, we are expecting unprecedented growth in traffic on our networks.”
However, it said its networks “are currently performing well” and that engineers were “working tirelessly to increase capacity across both our mobile and fixed networks” in anticipation.
“We will keep you updated as we continue to boost our networks, but also ask that our customers are patient if they experience any network issues or some slowness – please be assured that we are onto it and doing everything we can,” Optus said.
Similar voice congestion is being seen in New Zealand which is subject to similar lockdown and work-from-home arrangements.

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