Monday, March 16, 2020

Schema for Coronavirus special announcements, Covid-19 Testing Facilities and more

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing a large number of “Special Announcements” pertaining to changes in schedules and other aspects of everyday life. This includes not just closure of facilities and rescheduling of events but also new availability of medical facilities such as testing centers.

We have today published Schema.org 7.0, which includes fast-tracked new vocabulary to assist the global response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

It includes a "SpecialAnnouncement" type that provides for simple date-stamped textual updates, as well as markup to associate the announcement with a situation (such as the Coronavirus pandemic), and to indicate URLs for various kinds of update such a school closures, public transport closures, quarantine guidelines, travel bans, and information about getting tested.  

Many new testing facilities are being rapidly established worldwide, to test for COVID-19. Schema.org now has a CovidTestingFacility type to represent these, regardless of whether they are part of long-established medical facilities or temporary adaptations to the emergency.

We are also making improvements to other areas of Schema.org to help with the worldwide migration to working online and working from home, for example by helping event organizers indicate when an event has moved from having a physical location to being conducted online, and
whether the event's "eventAttendanceMode" is online, offlline or mixed. 

We will continue to improve this vocabulary in the light of feedback (github; doc), and welcome suggestions for improvements and additions particularly from organizations who are publishing such updates. 

Dan Brickley, R.V.Guha, Google.
Tom Marsh, Microsoft.

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