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Government open data

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a challenge for governments as real-time open data needs to be processed and saved in a quick and correct manner.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the importance of the idea of ‘e-governance’ including open data platforms. However, maintaining the open data platforms has remained mainly a manual process. Governments now often need to update, track, monitor, analyse and present data in real-time. This can be a challenge when most of the data entry and report preparation is done manually. As a result, there are inconsistencies and contentions to reported numbers that reach the media. The pandemic and its consequent crisis have uncovered and highlighted this issue more than anything else in the past.

When it comes to managing COVID-19, open data is needed to understand the disease spread, contact tracing and impact of the disease (hospitalization, recovery, death rates, etc.). The data on hospitalisation, recovery and death rates are intensely scrutinized in the public domain. Governments have had to build data systems in a short amount of time while being carefully followed by the public and the media.

The COVID-19 lifecycle for any individual has primarily 4 components – sampling, testing, treatment and outcome. However, many of the datasets coming from these different steps are processed and saved in separate levels of governments (municipality, region, central government). This can cause records to differ and complicates public scrutiny over the handling of the situation. A possible solution is an integrated database that provides comprehensive access to all levels of government and health officials in order to prevent different data reports and errors.

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