Government launches ‘Aarogya Setu’ Coronavirus tracker app on Android, iOS

By Xite - April 2, 2020
The government has launched ‘Aarogya Setu’ app that will help people know whether they have come in proximity of a Coronavirus-infected person, and undertake a self-assessment test to check whethe....

As the countrywide lockdown goes into the second week with the number of Coronavirus-positive increasing by the day, the government has launched ‘Aarogya Setu’ app. With the app, the government wants to help people determine whether they have come in contact with a COVID-19-infected patient so that they can undertake a self-assessment test to know if they are at risk. The app is available on both Android and iOS platforms.   

Developed by the National Informatics Center, which falls under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the app relies on users’ smartphone location and Bluetooth to determine if you have come in contact with a Coronavirus-positive patient. 

Aarogya Setu Intext

The app description says, ‘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.’ To use the app efficiently, users have to allow the app to collect location and Bluetooth data at all times.

Once you install the app and open it, you will be asked to choose a language from 11 options, including English, Hindi, and Gujrati. It will then ask for information like name, age, gender, profession, and countries visited in the past 30 days. The privacy policy of the app states that the location and Bluetooth data is recorded all the time. The app clears that the data will be shared only with the government of India and does not allow ‘your name and number to be disclosed to the public at large at any time’.

By collecting data, the app creates a social graph of the people a user has come in contact with. If it finds that the user has come in close proximity to an infected person, he/she will be alerted via SMS and push notifications. In this case, the app also advises the user to first self-isolate himself/herself, log their temperatures, and get tested urgently. Just like various other platforms, it too has helpline numbers provided. If you do not come in close proximity to a Coronavirus-infected person, the information collected from the app will be deleted after every 30 days.

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