Government's tracking app tells if you were near COVID-19 patient
In a bid to protect people from contracting and spreading the novel coronavirus disease, the government of India has launched a dedicated tracker app called 'Aarogya Setu'. The platform, which means a 'bridge of health', works automatically in the background and flags an alert upon detecting your contact with known COVID-19 patient. Here's how the app works.
Available on Android and iOS, Aarogya Setu uses a combination of Bluetooth and GPS to check if you have been near a COVID-19 positive person. The GPS shares your exact location with the app in real-time, provided you set location permission to 'always', while Bluetooth determines if you came within 6-feet of an infected individual, by using a government-maintained database of confirmed cases.
On detecting contact with a COVID-19 patient and determining that you might be at risk of catching it, the app sends your information to the government and provides guidance on the next steps, including how to self-isolate and schedule an appointment for the test. After that, you can take a test and follow the recommended steps to keep yourself and others protected.
The app says it keeps your data in an encrypted form on the device and doesn't share it with any third party. According to The Next Web, which first reported the app's release, it sends your data (Location and Bluetooth stats) in an anonymized form to a server that scans against the database and confirms if you have been close to an infected individual.
Along with the automated tracker, the app also includes a self-assessment bot that presents a number of questions related to your health condition, recent travel history and contacts to check your risk level for the disease. Depending on the results, it provides guidance on the next steps as well as details about state-wise helpline numbers to seek medical help and testing appointments.
The development of the app comes as India moves towards the third stage of the coronavirus outbreak with over 2,000 positive cases and at least 58 deaths.