World Health Organisation Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cited India’s Covid-19 contact tracing app Aarogya Setu as one among several tech tools to help public health departments identify clusters and expand testing.
In WHO’s latest media briefing, Ghebreyesus emphasised on the need to implement “tried and tested public health tools” like self-isolation and contract tracing to break the chain of Covid-19 transmission and said technologies like mobile applications were making these tools more “effective”. “The Aarogya Setu application in India that has been downloaded by 150 million users” is one such technology, he said.
“Aarogya Setu has helped city public departments to identify areas where clusters could be anticipated and increase Covid-19 testing in a targeted way,” Ghebreyesus said.
The government launched the Aarogya Setu contact tracking app in April to alert users when they come in close contact with a Covid-19 infected person. The app also makes users aware if they have chances to get infected with the virus. In May, weeks after the app was launched, cyber law experts and critics had said the app was too closed in nature and without adequate data protection measures. Following this, the government released the source code of the app in an attempt to promote transparency.
Other than India, Ghebreyesus mentioned contract tracing applications from countries like Germany (Corona Warn app) and United Kingdom (NHS’s Covid-19 app) among others that have aided healthcare systems in tracing probable infected persons.
He also highlighted that the WHO was working with these countries to evaluate the effectiveness of their digital applications.
Before this, WHO chief had praised India’s efforts in containing the spread of coronavirus in Mumbai’s Dharavi slum, saying that despite the outbreak being very intense, it was brought under control.
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