Government to launch an app that tracks COVID-19 by using your location

By Xite - March 26, 2020
The Indian government is likely to launch a Coronavirus-tracking app in one or two days. The app is being tested by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), and  by the Niti Aa....

While tech giants like Google and Microsoft, and the World Health Organization (WHO) have already launched trackers of Coronavirus cases on a global level, the Indian government is reportedly working on a more focussed solution to track COVID-19 infected cases in the country. As per a media report, the government is developing an app in English and all major Indian languages that will tell the users whether they have come in contact with patients who tested positive for coronavirus.

While the government will launch only one app, there are two beta versions that are being tested: one by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), and the other by the Niti Aayog. ‘It was ultimately decided that both teams should take the best of both apps,’ a MeitY official was quoted as saying. This app is likely to be launched in ‘one or two days’.

Reportedly, MeitY has been testing ‘Corona Kavach’ – an Android-based app – for some time now. It will use the phone number of users and location data of their smartphones to match their movements with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) data on the backend. The ICMR has the data related to the movements of patients who have tested positive for the virus. 

According to a MeitY official, the app will work well in the lockdown phase because the location of the user isn't changing. ‘But we have to test for all scenarios, especially a post-lockdown one,’ the official added.

Apparently, this app uses Bluetooth technology for nearby tracking, which is similar to the TraceTogether app developed by the Singapore government. The Niti Aayog is also doing similar testing. Citing sources, the report says that the app was beta tested by at least 10,000 users – both on Android and iOS.

The UK government has also made Covid Symptom Tracker, an app that tracks the symptoms of COVID-19 in the region. It also shows where the outbreaks are happening and helps distinguish cases from those of the common cold. The app is the third most popular app in Apple's UK store and the second in Google Play's new releases chart, according to BBC reports.

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  • Coronavirus
  • COVID-19