In today’s fast paced world, where challenges might not knock before they enter our lives, we rely a great deal on technology to anticipate problems and find solutions. When the spread of COVID-19 had started to accelerate, the people of India got alerted in a timely manner and got acting on measures such as lockdowns, contact tracing, social distancing, quarantine, treatment and testing. The government also launched the very useful and successful health app – Aarogya Setu. Developed by the National Informatics Center, which comes under the Ministry of Electronics and IT, Aarogya Setu helps citizens identify and mitigate their risk of getting infected from COVID-19.
The app is designed to keep a person informed in case he/she happens to cross path or come in close contact with someone who is COVID-positive. The app tracks such developments through a blue-tooth and location-generated social graph, which shows up an alert message in case anyone in the vicinity is tested positive. The app can be found on Google Play and Apple App Store in an easy and user-friendly manner. It is available in 11 languages – 10 of which are Indian languages – Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Punjabi, Bengali, Oriya, Gujarati, and Marathi and English.
Steps to use Aarogya Setu:
- Once you’ve downloaded and installed the app, run it and allow it access to your device.
- You get an OTP; you enter it and the app gets started.
- Enter your full name, gender, age and profession as asked.
- You will be asked whether you are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough and / or shortness of breath (periodic self-assessment test).
- You will also be asked whether you’ve travelled to a foreign country in the last 30 days and / or whether you are a medical practitioner or a public servant on duty. In case yes, your travel / activity history would be mapped with the people who’ve tested positive or are at a high risk, with the help of ICMR database.
Important features of Aarogya Setu:
- Willing-to-volunteer option: The app asks you if you would be ready to volunteer in the times of need. If you answer yes, a 20-second assessment test will start for you, guiding you on the steps ahead.
- Detection of nearby smartphones: Once the app is downloaded on your phone, it automatically detects nearby smartphones that also have the app installed. It then figures out your risk of infection from time-to-time based on pre-determined, standardized parameters.
- Based on robust technology: Whether a nearby person is infected or not, is determined by the app using a combination of Bluetooth, in-built algorithms and artificial intelligence
- Consists a list of Aarogya helpline numbers: The app consists a detailed list of COVID-19 helpline numbers, covering each and every state in
- Chatbot: This feature helps users understand the causes and the symptoms of COVID and also answer all the queries in the form of FAQs.
- Indicates your health / risk status: Basis all the information fed by you; Aarogya Setu app indicates your health and / or risk status – whether you are safe or not, what your level of risk / exposure is, etc. It also tells radius-wise information, as to how many people within 500 m or 1 km or 2 km or 5 km or 10 km of your location have been infected in the past 28 days. If you are unsafe, then it advises you to get the test done. If you are safe, then it tells you the next few things to do. For example
- Maintain social distancing
- Take self-assessment test
- Check app regularly for updates
Further, it also explains how to maintain social distancing:
- Greet with Namaste, instead of a hand-shake
- Avoid social gatherings
- Keep a 6-feet distance from people
- Showcase COVID updates: With this feature, people check how many cases of Coronavirus are prevailing worldwide, how many of them are active and how many of them have recovered. In fact, this feature separately showcases the rise and fall of virus cases state-wise too
- Feature-media: The media feature of this app points out all the important videos related to COVID-19, how to boost immunity, experiencing joy of Yoga, and testimonials of people who are recovered from Coronavirus too. Advices from doctors, social influencers such as celebrities and the government in the form of videos are also displayed on this app from time to time.
- FAQs related to e-pass: This feature showcases your e-pass, in case you have applied. Answers to various FAQs are also displayed here. For example:
- What information does my e-pass contain?
- Can my e-pass be used for purposes other than essential supply duty?
- What is my e-pass number?
- Is my e-pass valid at any location?
- Who is the issuing authority of my e-pass?
- How can my e-pass be verified?
- Is my e-pass valid with a government-issued ID?
- Information about PM Cares fund and Privacy FAQs: It also highlights information about PM Cares Fund and disclose privacy FAQs, like:
- What personal information does this app collect from users?
- How does this app anonymize your personal information?
- What are the privacy features built into the app?
- How does this app secure your information?
- How long is the information stored on the server?
- How long is the information stored on the mobile phone?
- Why does this app collect GPS info?
- If a person tests positive, will it inform others too?
The government of India is indeed taking requisite steps to combat this global pandemic and the ensuing endemic. Launching Aarogya Setu has proven to be a robust step in that direction. In case you haven’t downloaded it yet, it’s time to do so. Download now!