After reports came out earlier that India was working on a “Coronavirus tracker” of sorts, the Government of India has now officially launched an app for the said purpose. The app, called Aarogya Setu (which translates to “a bridge to health”), has been developed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, through Public-Private Partnership under the guidance of NIC- in a record 4 days.
The app uses a smartphone’s Bluetooth and location feature to assess if a person has been near a COVID-19 infected person. How it does that is fairly simple. It uses the government database of positive cases along with their geographical mapping to see if a person has been through a possibly infected area.
While most of the government-run apps and websites have often been accused of having security loopholes putting user data at risk, the developers insist that the user data from Aarogya Setu is totally safe and encrypted. The data will only be shared with government authorities and no third parties. Users who want to use the app have to undergo a small registeration which requires their mobile number.
Additionally, users will also be able to interact with a chatbot that will help the people to understand the symptoms and answer their queries. The users will also get real-time COVID-19 updates via tweets from the Health Ministry.
The app will available in 11 regional languages and is free for both iOS as well as android users.
While Aarogya Setu is officially live, multiple reports have suggested that there are several other phone-based apps/products that the Indian Government is looking to develop, in order to contain the spread of coronavirus. This includes one that will do geotracing of all quarantined, as well as previously positive cases to ensure they are not getting into areas where risk of an infection spread are higher.