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Introduction

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, high vigilance is necessary to prevent the spread of infection. The government has urged the citizens to follow social distancing and wear a mask in public spaces to protect themselves and their family members from this dangerous pandemic.

The Government of India has introduced various measures to help its citizens in combating this virus. The Aarogya Setu App is one such step that ensures quicker detection of infection and controlling the spread of infection.

What is the Aarogya Setu App?

Aarogya Setu is a smartphone app developed by the Government of India to link critical health services to the citizens of India in our joint war against COVID-19. The app intends to improve the Government of India's efforts, in particular the Ministry of Health, to efficiently and effectively reach out and educate the public regarding the hazards, best practices and appropriate advice related to the containment of COVID-19.

What are the benefits of using the Aarogya Setu app?

‘Aarogya Setu’ means ‘Bridge of Health’. As the name suggests, this app strives to act as a bridge between the citizens and the health care system to provide timely medical care. Aarogya Setu is a powerful bridge to help us avoid the spread of coronavirus pandemic in India. Aarogya Setu uses touch tracking to capture data of all those you might have come into contact with when you're doing your daily work. If any of your contacts test positive for COVID-19, you will be informed promptly so that you can seek appropriate medical care.

In an attempt to break the chain of infection, it is necessary to give medical assistance and guidance to individuals who may be at risk, particularly asymptomatic patients, i.e. people who may have acquired the infection but have not yet shown symptoms.

The app allows early detection and avoidance of the possible danger of infection by touch tracing, thereby serving as a protection for you, your family and your neighbourhood. In fact, if you take the Aarogya Setu app self-assessment exam, by correlating the symptoms you experience along with your location details, the Government of India would be able to recognise possible hotspots early enough so that the appropriate interventions can be made to monitor and minimize the spread of COVID-19.

Salient features of the Aarogya Setu App

The Aarogya Setu app comes with these features: 

  • Intelligent touch tracing using Bluetooth
  • Self-assessment on the basis of the ICMR guidelines
  • User's risk score
  • News, recommendations and best practices applicable to COVID-19
  • COVID-19-based on your geo-location statistics
  • National COVID-19 statistics
  • SOS COVID-19 Helpline service
  • List of approved ICMR laboratories with COVID-19 testing facilities
  • Application for e-Pass
  • Can be used in 12 different languages

How do I start using the Aarogya Setu App?

The Aarogya Setu App is available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store. You have to first download it on your mobile phone. You can also download it from the Swaraksha MyGov website. Jio Appstore has a version for its KaiOS JIO phones too.

Once you have downloaded the app, follow these steps to set it up on your mobile:

  • Launch the Aarogya Setu App
  • You can select your language from 12 different options
  • Click on the ‘Register Now’ button
  • You will be required to ‘Allow’ permissions for location sharing and Bluetooth access
  • You have to enter your mobile number to register. An OTP will be sent to verify your phone number. Enter it in the space given.
  • On the next screen, you will be required to enter personal details like your name, age, sex, profession and any travel history in the past 30 days.
  • Once you have entered all the relevant details, click ‘Submit’.
  • The app will now redirect you to the homepage and show data on your neighborhood COVID-19 cases

Self-Assessment Test on the Aarogya Setu App

An important feature of the Aarogya Setu App is the Self-assessment feature. This feature helps you to take a simple question answer test to find out your infection risk rating.

Once you click on the ‘Self Assessment Test’ button, it will present a chat session where you are presented with a series of questions relating to your health condition. At the end of the questionnaire, it gives your risk rating and a few suggestions for you to follow.

Covid-19 Help Centers

The ‘Covid-19 Help Centers’ button will give you the details of the state-wise Covid-19 emergency assistance numbers.

Contract Tracing Feature of the Aarogya Setu App

The Aarogya Setu App uses Bluetooth technology on your phone to detect other handsets that have the Aarogya Setu App installed on them. When this occurs, all phones safely share a digital signature for this transaction, including date, proximity, place, and length. The data is processed on the computer of all individuals. In the unfortunate event that any of the people you have come into contact with over the last 14 days have tested positive for COVID-19, the App calculates your risk of infection based on the number of your interactions and the proximity of your interaction and recommends appropriate action.

How does the Aarogya Setu App calculate my infection risk rating?

Any time you come in close proximity to another Aarogya Setu user, your device records the digital signature of this meeting, including date, range, position and period. If, at a later point in time, any one of the individuals you come into contact with tests positive for COVID-19, Aarogya Setu app immediately measures the risk of COVID-19 infection based on the latest interaction and proximity of the encounter with that person and communicates this risk of infection to you via a warning and an adjustment of the Home Screen with a specific color and a notification. This hypothesis is continuously optimized on the basis of subsequent contacts. Your revised risk of infection is assessed by the Government of India to encourage effective medical treatments if and when possible.

How will the Aarogya Setu App know if any of my contacts have tested positive for COVID-19?

If anyone is found positive for COVID-19, the testing facility immediately communicates this information to the Indian Medical Research Council (ICMR) – the nodal government body for COVID-19 monitoring. ICMR shares the list of positive COVID-19 people with the Aarogya Setu server.

When the COVID-19 positive user screen has the Aarogya Setu app activated, the server will check the device status and adjust the color to red in that individual's Aarogya Setu device and will use touch tracking to recognize the people he / she has come into contact with.

Why does the Aarogya Setu App have different colored screens for different people?

The home screen of the Aarogya Setu App presents itself in 4 different colors to express your risk rating;

Home Screen ColorRisk Rating Information

Green

You are safe or at a low risk

Yellow

You are at a moderate level of infection risk

Orange

You are at a high risk or infection

Red

You have been tested positive for Covid-19

FAQs

1. What is the personal information collected by the Aarogya Setu App?

The Aarogya Setu app requires your mobile number for the registration process. In addition to this, you need to provide your name, gender, age, profession, countries visited in the last 30 days and willingness to volunteer in times of need. Please note that all this information is encrypted and stored on the Aarogya Setu server safely.

2. Is my information safe on the Aarogya Setu server?

The Aarogya Setu app was created with privacy-first architecture as a core concept. Aarogya Setu has introduced some of the latest and generally known privacy technologies and standards, including anonymisation, data minimization, intent and usage restriction and data protection concepts.

3. The app asks me to keep my Bluetooth on at all times. Will my battery not get drained?

The Aarogya Setu device utilizes Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), a version with a negligible power drain. In addition to this, app developers are continually working on improving the app efficiency and future updates will roll out these features.

4. Which operating systems are compatible with the Aarogya Setu app?

Aarogya Setu is currently compatible with iOS, Android and KaiOS users. It currently works on Android 5.0 and above, iOS 10.3 and above. It is also available as a service to users with feature phones and landlines. They can call the Aarogya Setu IVRS Platform in 1921 and do their own self-assessment.

End Note

The Aarogya Setu app, as the name signifies, truly acts as a bridge between infected patients and the health care sector. It allows authorities to monitor the infection rate and take immediate actions to mitigate the spread.

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