Wednesday, April 15, 2020

What is Aarogya Setu App and How it helps fight Coronavirus?

Aarogya Setu App

Yesterday at 10 AM, Hon’ble PM of India came to discuss the pandemic Novel Coronavirus disease and the cry it has spread across the globe. He also announced that the lockdown is going to extend till 3rd May 2020. In the end, he asked for the support at 7 points from the citizens of this nation, among which 4th one was to download the new “AAROGYA SETU MOBILE APP”. And, then in the afternoon, the Joint Health Secy, Luv Agrawal too urged for the same. Amidst this lockdown, we need to understand the importance of mobile application and how it helps us to give preventive measures to control the spread of an outbreak of this global outcry. 

What is Aarogya Setu App?

Aarogya Setu is a Sanskrit Language word which means "A bridge of health". Aarogya Setu is currently available in 11 languages (English, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Punjabi, Bengali, Oriya, Gujarati, and Marathi) and expected to be available in more Indian languages soon. This app is designed to help control the spread of coronavirus and make its information accessible to the common people. 

This special app also helps in finding out corona positive people present nearby. Thus, it somewhere uses the GPS location of the user. The app has also Bluetooth-enabled work in the application for identification. 

Aarogya Setu is a mobile application developed by the National Informatics Centre that comes under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, to connect essential health services with the people of India in our combined fight against COVID-19. 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. Aarogya Setu app is available for Android and iOS mobile operating systems. 

Download Aarogya Setu App

How Does Aarogya Setu App Works?

Using Bluetooth technology, the Aarogya Setu app tries to determine the risk if one has been near a COVID-19 infected person (within six feet of distance) by scanning through a database of known cases across India and using location information it determines the location one is in belongs to the infected areas based on the data available. It will also tell one whether one is in and around a high-risk zone, thus bringing categorization about the zone in which one is currently residing or lying. If any of the contacts tested positive, the app will calculate the risk of infection.

  • First, the information about the user will be fed into the system through the device of the user. The information will include whether the user has any kind of symptomatic essence which is linked with this viral pandemic. Thus, it gives a voluntary basis where the trust lies upon the user who will furnish the correct information.
  • One will be asked about one’s foreign travel history in the last 14 days. The foreign travel history, if any, will be matched with that of those who've tested positive, with the help of the ICMR database.
  • After submitting the details, it will cross-checks the detail present in the government database and uses the proximity of Bluetooth and suggests whether you are safe or not.
  • Accordingly, you will be given the zone category to check whether you are safe or not.
  • In case some of the answers suggest COVID-19 symptoms, the information will be sent to a government server. The data will then help the government take timely steps and initiate the isolation procedure, if necessary.
  • You will be alerted if someone you came in close proximity with, unknowingly, tests positive. The app alerts are accompanied by instructions on how to self-isolate and what to do in case you develop symptoms.
  • The app will also check the user’s location of around six feet that is whether he or she was in the proximity of an infected patient by using the device Bluetooth.
After one has installed Aarogya Setu in one’s smartphone, it will detect other nearby smartphones that also have the app installed. It can then figure out the risk of infection based on sophisticated parameters if any of these contacts are tested positive. The basis of this calculation which is done using Bluetooth, algorithms and artificial intelligence is the smartphone user's interaction with others. Thus, it will ensure the network connectivity for alert based notifications.

Is it safe?

Yes, it is safe to use. The data is shared only with the government. Data provided by the user is said to be encrypted and it is also sent to the government's server anonymously. The app doesn't allow your name and number to be publicly disclosed. Plus OTP type feature somewhere adds security to the application. Tampering the data is not possible because the public disclosure through the app is not allowed as mentioned in the “TERMS & CONDITIONS” which users have to agree. 

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