ISLAMABAD PR - Around the world, the spread of COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on health, lives and jobs, including Pakistan. We’ve had to make fundamental changes to the way we live and work, and the economic impact is affecting businesses everywhere. Yet we’ve also heard humbling and inspiring stories of healthcare workers on the frontlines, businesses providing vital resources and support, and families and communities being there for one another—showing us that if everyone plays their part, we can and will get through this together. 

Overcoming a crisis on this scale will take a sustained effort and we want to do everything we can to help. Since the virus first began to spread, our focus at Google has been on making sure people have the information and tools that they need.

We’re sharing the actions we have been taking and will continue to take to support Pakistan both in the ongoing short-term response to the virus, and in the long-term, concentrating on three priorities that we believe are critical to a sustainable recovery:

Promoting authoritative and reliable information sources

It’s crucial that people have access to health information they can trust online, so they can make the right decisions to protect themselves and those around them from COVID-19. We’ve surfaced the latest updates and health advice from international health authorities across Search, Maps and YouTube in Urdu and English. We’ve also helped promote hygiene awareness campaigns, shared travel advisories, and stepped up our work to curb misinformation spreading on Google, YouTube or through apps on the Play Store.

We’re going to build on these efforts in months ahead. In Pakistan, that means having our own local website dedicated to COVID-19 education, prevention, and resources. This includes best practices on prevention, links to authoritative information from the Government of Pakistan and helpful tips and tools from Google for individuals, educators and businesses.

Supporting education and learning

In Pakistan, approximately 60 million students may be out of school because of restrictions on movement and gathering sizes. That’s putting huge pressure on families, schools and the incredible teachers who nurture our children’s passion for learning.

To help teachers get the support they need to teach remotely, we’ve made tools like Hangouts Meet and Google Classroom available for free, provided training and tips through both Google and YouTube, and launched Teach from Home with UNESCO as a central hub for teachers around the world. 

Contributing to business continuity and economic recovery

We’ve launched our Grow with Google site for Pakistanis to benefit from free training, tools and events to help grow their skills, career, or business. We’ve also launched a related site on remote working to help folks work, teach and learn from anywhere.

We also recently announced an $800 million commitment to support small businesses around the world with access to finance, ad credits and grants to help meet the costs of the virus. At the same time, we have taken teachings from our programs to social media as well as the Google Primer free app to continue training small businesses in digital skills and enable their employees to work remotely.

Upholding our responsibility

COVID-19 puts intense demands on us all, and we’re determined to uphold our responsibility in this unprecedented time: to enable access to trusted information, support remote learning, back small businesses, and more. The initiatives we’ve shared today are the start. We’re standing with Pakistan to do all we can to help as we overcome COVID-19 and shape a stronger future.