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Open Access Special Issue

Digital technology to control COVID-19 in China: issues, challenges and implications for the healthcare system

  • Jianliang Xiao1
  • Ruilian Zhang2

1School of Public Administration, Hohai University, 211100 Nanjing, Jiangsu, China

2Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland, 4072 Brisbane, Australia

DOI: 10.22514/sv.2021.229

Submitted: 25 August 2021 Accepted: 12 October 2021

Online publish date: 10 November 2021

*Corresponding Author(s): Ruilian Zhang E-mail:


In the current era, public health crises are presenting new systematic and cross-border characteristics and uncertainty. Public health crises are challenges for governments and health systems. The development of digital technology has changed the world and connected it as a “village”, and digital technology has played a critical role in providing support during public health crises over the past three decades. From the perspective of empowerment theory, we explore the role of digital technology in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and digital technology approaches to controlling COVID-19 in China. Accordingly, we identify the challenges of using digital technology to control public health crises, including the imbalance of the rights and responsibilities of governance subjects, the incompatibility of the governance model and digital technology and the inadequate application of digital technology. Considering implications for the successful prevention and control of COVID-19, we suggest that the government should improve the balance of rights and responsibilities for coordinated crisis governance, link digital technology and the governance system and broaden the grassroots governance community.


Public health crisis; Digital technology; Healthcare system; Challenges; COVID-19

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Jianliang Xiao,Ruilian Zhang. Digital technology to control COVID-19 in China: issues, challenges and implications for the healthcare system. Signa Vitae. 2022.doi:10.22514/sv.2021.229.


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