Updated: April 14, 2020 12:41:53 pm
Before Google and Apple partnered to introduce a contact tracing tool last week to monitor and control the spread of the Covid-19 it was the Government of India that developed and launched its own contact tracking app called Aarogya Setu.
The Aarogya Setu app uses Bluetooth technology and location data to tracker people infected with COVID-19 and also people who come in close contact with the ones infected. Aarogya Setu was launched in India couple of days after nearly two weeks of testing. With this app, the Indian government wants to track the movement of people infected with coronavirus.
Nearly a week after Aarogya Setu hit the app store the World Bank has now praised the app and said that the innovation can greatly help prevent the spread of the virus.
In a South Asia Economic Focus report posted on Sunday, the World Bank praised Aarogya Setu app. The report noted, “Digital technologies can also be used to monitor the spread of Covid-19. Such initiatives, largely voluntary, have been successful in helping combat the pandemic in East Asia. Incentives also can be provided to those who report symptoms. India recently launched an app, Aarogya Setu, that uses location data from persons’ smartphones to tell users if they have been near someone who tested positive for Covid-19.”
NITI Aayog’s Amitabh Kant took to Twitter to post, “India leads the way in contact tracing for Covid-19: privacy first by design, secure, robust and scalable to billion users.” Further tagging Apple’s Tim Cook and Google’s Sundar Pichai Kant said, “Glad to see Apple and Google joining hands to develop contact tracing on the lines of Aarogya Setu.”
“Privacy concerns can be dealt with by legislating sunset clauses on tracking systems. The region houses many poor and uneducated households that are nevertheless tech-savvy, and the innovative solutions technology could greatly help educate and track contagion across the populations at large,” the report further noted.
The Aarogya Setu app already has over 10,000,000 downloads on Google Play store alone. Apple App store doesn’t show the number of downloads, but the app has been rated 4.4 on the platform.
Last week Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to download the Aarogya Setu app on their smartphones and said it will battle against COVID-19 pandemic. “Aarogya Setu is an important step in our battle against COVID-19. It offers useful knowledge through leveraging technology. As more and more people use it, it will increase its efficacy. I encourage all of you to download it,” he said in the tweet.
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