Despite stringent lockdown measures, the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread in India, pushing the healthcare system to the verge of a breakdown.
India’s COVID-19 cases have increased by 3X times in May. These daunting figures reveal that lockdown is not an absolute panacea for coronavirus spread.
With no respite in sight, the Indian Government has turned towards technology-driven solutions to contain the spread of COVID-19.
In its fight against the COVID-19, the Government of India has launched a mobile app called ‘Arogya Setu’- the COVID-19 tracker.
What is Aarogya Setu App?
Aarogya Setu App is a Bluetooth-based COVID-19 tracker developed by the National Informatics Centre, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), India.
The primary motto of the Aarogya Setu App is to educate, inform and guide the app users regarding the risks, best practices and relevant advisories about the containment of COVID-19.
It is designed to alert the app users if they come in proximity with any COVID-19 positive patient.
How to Download and Use Aarogya Setu App?
The Aarogya Setu app is available for both Android and iOS platforms. The app can be accessed in 11 languages including English, Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam, Punjabi, Kannada, Bengali, Tamil, Gujarati, Oriya, and Marathi.
All you need is a smartphone and a personal mobile number.
Step by step process to use Aarogya Setu app
- Downloaded the Aarogya Setu App from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store
- Switch on Bluetooth and location of your phone
- Set ‘Location Sharing’ to ‘Always’
- Open the App
- Select your preferred language
- Click on ‘Register’
- Click on ‘I Agree’
- Enter your mobile number in the relevant column for registration
- Enter the OTP received
- Take ‘Self-Assessment Test’ to gain full access to the app
Continuous access to Bluetooth and Locations is key for the app to establish close range proximity between two people. So, ensure that Bluetooth and Location of your phone are switched on.
Benefits of Using Aarogya Setu App
The benefits of using Aarogya Setu app are as follows
- It determines the risk of COVID-19 contraction based on the user’s location
- The app alerts the users if they are within 6-feet proximity with any COVID-19 patient
- The app guides and instructs the users about several measures such as self-isolation, social distancing, and other hygiene practices
- It provides support if the user develops symptoms
- The app will advise the user to reach the testing center and call the toll-free number 1075 immediately
- The app features a chatbot to clear all the basic doubts on COVID-19
- It also features helpline number for each state in India
- Soon, the app can be used as an e-pass for people to travel to other places
How Aarogya Setu App Helps in Finding Covid-19 Symptoms?
The Aarogya Setu app features a ‘self-testing’ tool to help users find out if they are showing any COVID-19 symptoms. The user is asked to answer some questions related to their health and symptoms. However, it’s imperative to answer the questions honestly for the timely help.
Based on the answers, the app shows the risk level as either green or yellow color code.
- A green color code denotes ‘you are safe,’ then there is no risk
- A yellow color code denotes ‘You are at high risk,’ then you should contact helpline
Steps to find out if you have COVID-19 symptoms
- Upon opening the app, look for Self-Assessment button and click it
- Enter your full name, age, gender and profession, as asked
- Answer whether you are experiencing any symptoms, cough, fever or difficulty in breathing
- Answer whether you have ever heard about Diabetes, Hypertension, Lung Disease or Heart Disease
- Enter details about your travel history in the last 14 days
- You’ll be asked about your contact history with any COVID-19 patient
- Once you answer these questions, the app will show the risk level
Privacy Concerns Around Aarogya Setu
While the government is actively advocating for this app, there are also controversies posing opposition to its usage.
In a media interaction, former Supreme Court judge BN Srikrishna called the drive to make app compulsory as ‘utterly illegal.’
“Under what law do you mandate it? So far, it is not backed by any law,” Srikrishna adds.
The app’s features to track location, data, and constant Bluetooth access are invasive security and privacy terms, say experts.
Singapore also has an app called ‘TraceTogether’ operated only by the Health Ministry for data access. It is not open for any law enforcement agencies and cannot be used for enforcing quarantine and lockdown.
“AarogyaSetu retains the flexibility to do just that, or to ensure compliance of legal orders and so on,” says the Internet Freedom Foundation, a Delhi-based organization.
Whereas, few others say that the app doesn’t reveal user identity.
“Your data is not going to be used for any other purpose. No third party has access to it,” says Singh from MyGov, who also adds that it was built with privacy as a core principle.
Singh explains that during registration, the app assigns users with a unique ‘anonymized’ device ID, which acts as the bridge for future communication at the government level.
No personal information will be exchanged post-registration, Singh adds.
France-based ethical hacker Alderson says the app has got flaws, which enable it to know who is sick anywhere in the country.
“I was able to see if someone was sick at the PMO [prime minister’s office] or the Indian parliament. I was able to see if someone was sick in a specific house if I wanted,” Alderson said in his blog post.
Meanwhile, the Aarogya Setu app denies its involvement in any such breach incidents.
With regard to transparency, Aarogya Setu is unlike other apps that are open for security audits by independent coding experts and researchers.
To this, Singh says, “All applications are made open-source ultimately, and the same is applicable to Aarogya Setu also.”
According to NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, the Aarogya Setu app has become the fastest app in the world to reach 50 million downloads in just 13 days.
Since its launch, the Aarogya Setu app has crossed the mark of 100 million registered users in 41 days.
The app has gained huge popularity as it acts as a one-stop solution for spreading awareness about Covid-19, helping users to self-diagnose, and provide the latest updates and guidelines.
Wait no more!
Install the Arogya Setu app and explore the features that help you #StaySafe and #StayAlert from COVID-19.
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- #StaySafe and #StayAlert with ‘Arogya Setu’ App!