Indian govt brings COVID-19 tracker app Aarogya Setu

Indian govt brings COVID-19 tracker app Aarogya Setu

Last week, the Indian government had announced to release the COVID-19 tracker mobile app for the public. The state-run Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MietY) and govt think-tank Niti Aayog were working on two beta versions of Corona Kavach and CoWin-20, respectively and had sent them to select people to get feedback and weed out bugs.

Now, the government's National Informatics Centre (NIC) has officially released the app, but with a different name -- Aarogya Setu and it has the same features as the aforementioned prototype apps. 

Aarogya Setu description on Google Play store

"Aarogya Setu is a mobile application developed by the Government of India to connect essential health services with the people of India in our combined fight against COVID-19. The App is aimed at augmenting the initiatives of the Government of India, particularly the Department of Health, in proactively reaching out to and informing the users of the app regarding risks, best practices and relevant advisories pertaining to the containment of COVID-19"

Aarogya Setu asks for the user's mobile number, location data (via GPS and Bluetooth access permission), and matches the traveling history with that of the Coronavirus positive patients, documented by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) data in the backend. 

With GPS and Bluetooth, it will offer location generated social graph and warn the user not to venture out to a particular area, which the COVID-19 patient had stayed or traveled there. And also, check if you had ever accidentally or unknowingly came in close contact (around six feet) from the coronavirus infected person.

Must read | COVID-19: Indian govt testing CoWin-20, Corona Kavach apps soon to mitigate community spread

It has a self-testing tool, and the user will be asked to answer some questions and if you happen to show symptoms of COVID-19, your information will be sent to the government server.

Aarogya Setu app on Google Play store (screen-shot)

Aarogya Setu offers services in 10 Indian languages including Kannada, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Marathi, Malayalam, Gujarati and more in addition to English.

It also has a strict user-privacy policy and says the data will be shared with the government of India (only if you have COVID-19 symptoms) and has proper mechanisms in place so that the user-identifiable information such as name and the mobile will never be disclosed to the public at any time.

Aarogya Setu is now available on both Google Play (here) and Apple App Store (here) for Android mobiles and iPhones, respectively in India.

Also, Apple as part of the Public Service Announcement (PSA) has placed the Aarogya Setu app on the home screen of the App Store for easy discoverability for iPhone and  iPad owners.

Aarogya Setu app is placed on top of the home screen of the Apple App Store for easy discoverability (DH Photo/ Rohit KVN)

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