WHO lauds India’s Aarogya Setu app, says it helped officials identify clusters


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WHO lauds India’s Aarogya Setu app, says it helped officials identify clusters

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has lauded Aarogya Setu, a mobile application that was launched by the Government of India for protecting the citizens during COVID-19. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the health agency, said that the app helped city public health departments identify clusters and expand testing.

“Aarogya Setu app from India has been downloaded by 150 million users, and has helped city public health departments to identify areas where clusters could be anticipated and expand testing in a targeted way,” Dr. Tedros said at a press briefing. 

The app is designed to inform the people of any potential risk of COVID-19 infection around them, best practices to stay healthy, and relevant/curated medical advisories pertaining to the pandemic. Some of the key features of the app include automatic contact tracing using bluetooth, self-assessment test based on ICMR guidelines, risk status of a user, updates and advisory/best practices related to COVID-19, geo-location based COVID-19 statistics, nationwide COVID-19 statistics, emergency COVID-19 helpline contacts, list of ICMR approved labs with COVID-19 testing facilities, e-pass integration along with support for 12 languages. 

Earlier in September, the government had assured the Parliament that the app has maintained utmost transparency in all aspects. He said that the app has been “indigenously designed to cater to the specific demographics of India, and the featrues and functionalities in the app are built accordingly. 

Aarogya Setu is the biggest COVID-19 contact tracing app in the world with over 15.71 crore registered users, Sanjay Dhotre, Minister of State for Electronics and IT, had informed the Parliament. The app’s data is encrypted in transit as well as at rest. Personal information provided at the time of registration is encrypted before being uploaded to the back-end server, where it is stored in encrypted form, he said, adding that the data collected by the app is governed by stipulated protocols and policy.

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