Aarogya Setu, India’s own contact tracing app has been made mandatory for both government and private sector employees. So far, participation on the app was voluntary but the new order from the Union Home Ministry will not only make it necessary for private and government sector employees but also for people within a containment zone.
The new directive will force many new users onto the contact tracing application. Aarogya Setu compiles user location and Bluetooth data to form a network of information to warn authorities of a potential spread of the virus.
"Use of Aarogya Setu app shall be made mandatory for all employees, both private and public. It shall be the responsibility of the head of the respective organisations to ensure 100% coverage of this app among the employees," the ministry said.
Earlier, food-delivery services had mandated their delivery personnel to download Aarogya Setu. With restrictions being eased gradually, it will be imperative for the authorities to trace the people venturing out of their homes for work and other tasks.
The app has already registered over 50 million downloads on Google Play Store with over 3 lakh reviews. Apart from contact tracing, the application acts as a one-stop solution for spreading awareness about Covid-19, helping self diagnose users and provide latest updates.
How to register
Once a user downloads the app, it will ask for continuous Bluetooth access and location data. The app then asks for some info that will help build data about the users. The information includes age, gender, name, health status and also asks for the countries that the user has been to in the past few weeks. The application also asks if the user belongs to any one of the exempted category of professionals. Then it asks if the user will be willing to help in times of need.
In the next step, a self-assessment test is put forward where the user is asked about their current health and whether they are showing any of the symptoms of Covid-19. The user will also have to declare their travel history. In case you're a doctor, the app will ask if you were exposed to Covid-19 patients. Depending on the answers, the app will suggest a way forward.
How does contact tracing work?
Access to Bluetooth is key for the app to establish close range proximity between two people. When two smartphones with Aarogya Setu installed come in each other's Bluetooth range the app will collect information. If one of the two people have already tested positive, the app will alert the other person and in the process allow the government to trace potential cases.
The alerts are accompanied by instructions to help self isolate and even provide support if you develop symptoms.