The Government of India for the third time today extended the nationwide lockdown for an additional period of two weeks until May 17, 2020. During the extended lockdown, states have been divided into three zones: Red, Orange and Green, with different relaxations and restrictions for each zone, including allowing e-commerce websites to start delivering non-essential goods to Orange and Green zones. Apart from that, guidelines for mandatory installation of the Aarogya Setu app were also issued.
The guidelines by the Government for this third lockdown include a directive, which makes it mandatory for all public and private sector office employees to download the Aarogya Setu app. Apart from this, all citizens living in an identified COVID-19 containment zone will also be required to have the Aarogya Setu app installed on their smartphone.
The new directive also stated that it will be the responsibility of the heads of the respective organisations, in both private and public offices, to ensure 100 per cent coverage of the Aarogya Setu app among employees.
Apart from having the app installed on their smartphones, employees would be required to get an e-pass to be able to travel to and work at their offices. To get an e-pass, guidelines for every state will be issued separately. Employees will also be required to wear a face cover at all times.
The guidelines listed by the CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) states that only those wearing a face mask and having the Aarogya Setu app on their phones will be allowed into metro stations when they open. Additionally, only people with an e-pass and a green code will be let inside the stations.
To recall, the Aarogya Setu app was first made mandatory only for central government employees. They were asked to verify the status on the app and commute to office only if it was safe or low risk. Else they were told to stay at home.
Many companies including Zomato have already made it mandatory for all their delivery executives to have the contact tracing app installed on their smartphone. Zomato is even verifying the presence of the app on the delivery agent’s smartphone before letting them start delivery sessions.
Aarogya Setu app to be pre-installed on phones
According to a recent report from Livemint, the Indian government has urged smartphone manufacturers to pre-install Aarogya Setu app, out-of-the-box, on all smartphones. This move would likely require all new smartphone buyers to set up information on the app during the time of the smartphone’s initial setup.
Aarogya Setu for feature phones
The government is planning to launch a similar initiative like the Aarogya Setu app for feature phones, according to a report by ET. The report states that the government is working with Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone-Idea to enable calls to their subscribers to check for COVID-19 symptoms. This will help the government reach out to people using a feature phone.
The calls will be made via an Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) from a central helpline number (1921). Consumers will be able to select the language they want to communicate in using the IVRS. With the call, the IVRS will check the users for symptoms. If they are suspected, the IVRS will inform the local health authorities about the situation.
This partnership will also allow authorities to send notifications to users who have not downloaded the Aarogya Setu app on their smartphones.
How to setup Aarogya Setu app
Aarogya Setu app is currently available on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.Aarogya Setu app uses your smartphone’s Bluetooth and location data to trace your movement and keep a check on you if you come in contact with a COVID-19 high-risk person.
Due to the app recording user data, many people have stated that they have a lot of privacy issues with it. To put all of these privacy concerns to rest, Niti Aayog CEO, Amitabh Kant in an interview with Aaj Tak recently, stated that the servers only keep the data of a safe user for 30 days while data of users at high-risk are stored for 60 days.
The app is currently available on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. You can download it on your smartphone from the respective app store and set up the app by following these steps.