As the cases of coronavirus are accelerating at a very high pace, the government of India has used mobile surveillance and has designed an app with the help of Ministry of Human Resource Development in association with Digital India for the health and well-being of every Indian. Aarogya Setu app is designed for both android and ios devices and is available on Google and Apple stores respectively. The primary aim of the app is to track the community transmission and trace the contact and travel history of individuals who are quarantined, suspected or tested positive of COVID-19.
The word Aarogya Setu means ‘A bridge of health’ and it has been downloaded by 15 million users by now. The app will use location and Bluetooth of the device and tell the user whether he is in high-risk zone or not and if the user comes in contact with a COVID-19 positive person the app will calculate the infection. After downloading the app, it asks the users if he has cough, fever or trouble in breathing etc and if the user does not have any of these problems; the user goes in the green zone. Whenever the user goes to a crowded place and comes in contact with a person who’s also normal the app shows green zone but if the becomes infected by coronavirus after 10 days, the app will alert the user and in such situation user should get himself checked.
The app also tells about the coronavirus hotspots so that user could change his route and avoid infection. Aarogya Setu app is available in 11 languages and is designed for use in overall India and it can take a huge amount of workload. This app will make calculations on the basis of interaction of user, Bluetooth technology, algorithm and artificial intelligence, as stated by senior ministry official. The app does not show the name or number of the user at any time but it comes with a COVID-19 risk management window which clearly states that information collected will be accessible to the government of India to track and manage the spread of the virus across the country. It also offers a self assessment test to the users and can be used if any symptoms are developed also; it insists user to keep the location and Bluetooth connections always on.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation has urged all the citizens to download the Aarogya Setu app as it is a critical link in the fight of the country against coronavirus. He further stated that app could possibly used as e-pass to facilitate travel from one place to another in urgency during this lockdown.
To use app, a person needs to install the app from Google or Apple playstore and then switch on the Bluetooth and location sharing settings. After the app is installed it will detect the devices in proximity with Aarogya Setu installed app. The app will ask for the desired language, it has 11 languages including Hindi and English making it more accessible. After this, the app requires details like name, age, profession, international travel etc.
After all the details the app verifies the information with the government database and uses Bluetooth to see if the user is safe or not and if the user is not safe it suggests the user to isolate and take precautions. With the Bluetooth device the app will check the user’s location of around six feet and tell the user if he was at high risk or not. If the user was at high risk the app will suggest getting a test and calling on toll-free number 1075 to get an appointment at the nearest hospital. If the person is tested positive for coronavirus then the app will share data with the government with no third party included.
Aarogya Setu app is very good initiative taken by the government of India to trace the coronavirus cases across the country to stop the infection and ensure isolation wherever required. Also, the lockdown till May 3 will result in a better picture of the country than today.