The National Informatics Centre of India (NIC), under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has worked for the government and has come up with the Aarogya Setu app for all Indian citizens, which has taken over our inboxes ever since. This application is made in the view of the rapid, enormous spread of the COVID- 19 pandemic which has almost made the entire world in lockdown. Here, we are going to simplify it for you and answer all your queries about this application and its usage.

What is Aarogya Setu App for?

The Aarogya Setu app is the official app of the Indian government, which is developed specially for COVID 19, wherein it enables the users to determine whether they are under the risk of catching COVID- 19 or not. It works by notifying the users about the imminent risks that they might face and by turning on the location in the settings, users can also identify if someone around them or in close proximity has been infected or not, thus enabling them to protect themselves and their families. It is available for download on all Android and iOS devices.

Recently, a lot of questions are being raised about the utility as well as the credibility of the app and the data provided by it. The Secretary of the Ministry of Human Resources Development, to smoothen this issue out, wrote a letter to educational institutions and others, addressing the details of this app, as well as certain general measures everyone should take in order to enhance the body’s defence system and to boost natural immunity of people in this critical time.

Why should this app be used?

The main purpose behind the launch of this app is to notify users and reveal how much risk of infection exists around them. This app works using Bluetooth and GPS and the government has claimed that this app will strive to provide the users with accurate, real time information and data to the public regarding the extent of the spread, the probable existing risks, and means of prevention and treatment of the COVID-19.

Providing detailed instruction and information in a total of eleven languages, this app notifies you by telling you whether you are in zone of ‘high risk’ or not and it is available for both Android and iOS devices. If you are in a suggested high risk area, there will be a suggestion from the app for you to contact the testing centre which is nearest to you, by dialling the toll free number 1075 for an appointment as soon as possible. If you test positive for COVID-19, this app will upload this information to the government server and notify the other users in your proximity of the newly detected case to take the necessary precautions, while practicing social distancing or seeking the required help , while keeping your name and other personal details unrevealed and secured. It also provides the users with the basic general precautions that one must take to protect themselves and their family from the chances of infection and by boosting their natural immunity.

What is its potential to help combat COVID 19?

After the launch of the Aarogya Setu app, as of April 4, 2020, there are more than 5 million people across India who have installed this app and registered. In just three days post its introduction to the masses, it has become to top free app in India on both Google Play Store as well as iOS App Store.

While talking about its potential, this app is considered to be the official source for all information and updates regarding the spread of COVID 19 infection, how to take precautions and also data about existing risks and other relevant advisories that are related to this pandemic. One of the ways the government is trying to gather more attention and cover more ground in terms of awareness, is by taking the help of schools and other educational institutions to urge more people and their families to install this app and by telling them the validity and credibility of the data provided by the app.

It is an important feature in our fight against this pandemic as there is not official cure for it, so for now, the only thing we can practice is by taking the necessary precautions and protecting ourselves from contact as much as possible. Moreover, to protect the privacy of the users, the app only asks for Bluetooth and Location permissions and their personal information is directly updated to a secure government server, without being disclosed to other people. The information provided by the app is given credibility by its source, which is the government’s Department of Health.

These are difficult times, the kind we are living in right now. Everywhere, people are staying in, locked in their own homes and are often ridden with panic and uncertainty. In such a time, it is necessary for everyone to stay aware and updated with whatever goes on around them, especially when it is case of personal risk. The Aarogya Setu app enables all of us to keep track of potential risks in our vicinity and with help from the Health Department, as well as the Ministry of AYUSH given us a protocol to follow in terms of taking the right  measures to keep our immunity intact and also keep ourselves and our families protected.

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