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Artificial intelligence (AI) has been applied widely in our daily lives in a variety of ways with numerous successful stories. AI has also contributed to dealing with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, which has been happening around the globe. This paper presents a survey of AI methods being used in various applications in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak and outlines the crucial roles of AI research in this unprecedented battle. We touch on a number of areas where AI plays as an essential component, from medical image processing, data analytics, text mining and natural language processing, the Internet of Things, to computational biology and medicine. A summary of COVID-19 related data sources that are available for research purposes is also presented. Research directions on exploring the potentials of AI and enhancing its capabilities and power in the battle are thoroughly discussed. We highlight 13 groups of problems related to the COVID-19 pandemic and point out promising AI methods and tools that can be used to solve those problems. It is envisaged that this study will provide AI researchers and the wider community an overview of the current status of AI applications and motivate researchers in harnessing AI potentials in the fight against COVID-19.