A new update to Siri allows users to get advice on what they should do if they develop symptoms of covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
A new update to Siri allows users to get advice on what they should do if they develop symptoms of covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi (Getty Images)

If you’re an Apple user feeling under the weather and are worried you might have covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, you now have a new resource at your disposal: Siri.

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Apple has updated Siri with a questionnaire that helps people identify disease symptoms and determine the best course of action. To access it, users can ask Siri, “Hey Siri, do I have coronavirus?” According to CNBC, users began noticing the update and Siri’s new capabilities this weekend.

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Before starting the questionnaire, Apple states that the answers provided are from the U.S. Public Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The short survey, which can be answered with the responses “Yes,” “No,” or “Not sure,” begins by asking if you have a fever, dry cough or shortness of breath, all of which are common covid-19 symptoms. It then asks if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the disease.

When we tested it out and answered “Not sure,” to both questions, Siri told us to stay vigilant for the symptoms mentioned above, adding that they may appear up to 14 days after exposure. If that happens, Siri said, “separate yourself from others.”

But the voice assistant said that people over the age of 65 should react differently in case they do develop symptoms. The CDC states that older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from covid-19.

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“Contact a medical provider if you’re age 65 or over, or have a serious medical condition like lung or heart disease or diabetes,” Siri said.

On the other hand, if users state that their symptoms are extreme or life-threatening, Siri will ask them if they need emergency services and give them the option of calling 911.

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Siri is also recommending that users consider downloading telehealth apps if they can’t get in touch with a medical provider. The voice assistant provides a link to Apple’s app store to learn more about these options. Apple states that the apps, which include Amwell, Teladoc, Sydney Care and Doctor On Demand, among others, help users get care similar to what they would receive at a traditional doctor’s office visit.

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At the moment, it appears that Siri’s new update is only available to users in the U.S. We tried it out from Spain and did not receive the questionnaire. Instead, we were directed to the Spanish health ministry’s website. CNBC reports that it is unknown if or when the questionnaire would be available for international audiences.

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