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Around the world, tech communities are pooling together their resources to help find ways to address the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hack COVID-19 is a virtual hackathon, being organised out of Azerbaijan, that will bring together innovators and idea makers from around the world to develop tech solutions for responding to the coronavirus outbreak.

The programme aims to crowdsource technology solutions to help people overcome the instabilities and uncertainties they are facing amid the COVID-19 pandemic globally.

It kicks off this Friday, April 10, and runs through the weekend. Mentoring will take place during Saturday with live demos on Sunday, which will be overseen by the judging panel.

Some of the judges include Rashad Azizov, head of the innovations and digital development department in the Azerbaijani government, and Tatyana Kanzaveli, chief executive of health tech firm the Open Health Network.

The programme is headed up by startup accelerator SUP.VC alongside Azerbaijan’s The Ministry of Transport, Communication and High Technologies and the United Nations Development Programme.

Other organisations and partners involved in the initiative include AWS Active, Azerbaijan Tourism Board, PASHA Bank OJSC, Startup Grind Tbilisi, MeOut, Start-Ist and SOCAR AQS.

Much like a lot of events right now, the Hack COVID-19 hackathon is fully virtual. This allows participants of all kinds from every corner of the globe to take part – from developers to startup founders. Or anyone in the community that wants to help and make a difference.

The virtual event is open to all ideas big and small but will focus on a number of key pressing issues.

Supporting the vulnerable: Participants are encouraged to develop new tech solutions that can assist vulnerable people at home – such as the elderly or those existing health issues – while they are in quarantine or self-isolation.

Tech and health: Frontline doctors, nurses and healthcare workers are under immense pressure, whether that’s dealing with increasing numbers of cases or a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). How can technology help these essential workers in these challenging times?

Supporting SMEs: The coronavirus pandemic has rocked the global economy and small businesses are feeling it the worst with shuttered doors, slashed revenues and laid off workers. This virtual hackathon will seek new ways to help small business owners and employees adapt to this rapidly changing situation and the future ahead.

New social behaviour in tourism: Tourism is another industry that has taken a massive hit and with social distancing becoming the new normal, how can tourism respond? How can new health and safety standards be part of future travel experiences?

Outside of these remits, applicants to the hackathon can also propose solutions to a problem faced in their own communities as a result of the pandemic.

The top three prizes for the hackathon are $5,000 for first place, $3,000 for second and $2,000 for third.

Registration is open now with the closing date on Thursday, April 9 at 5pm UTC.