The Aarogya Setu app developed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology through Public-Private partnership has earned praise from the World Bank for successfully using digital technologies in monitoring the transmission of the Wuhan Coronavirus.
In the South Economic Focus report of the World Bank released on April 12, it observed, “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.” The report, citing the example of India’s indigenous app, stated that innovative solutions technology can help track the deadly virus in a region that comprises of tech-savvy but poor and uneducated households.
The app which is available in 11 languages uses Bluetooth to determine the location of the person and informs whether he is in proximity to a Coronavirus positive patient. Aarogya Setu app also contains a list of helpline numbers for every State in India. A chatbot within the app helps resolve user queries and educate about the symptoms of the Chinese virus. The privacy of a user is protected under all circumstances and the data will only be shared with the Indian Government if he has come in contact with an infected person.
Reportedly, tech giants such as Apple and Google are now building smartphone software along the lines of Aarogya Setu to help monitor Coronavirus patients and prevent users from coming in contact with them.
On March 25, Renata Dessallien, the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator in India, hailed India’s comprehensive lockdown in the wake of the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak. She had also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for social distancing.
Dessallien said, “The UN system in India is fully mobilized and ready to further step up its support to the Government of India to fight COVID-19. I believe that if we work together, we can overcome one of the greatest health threats of our lifetimes.” She along with WHO Representative to India, Dr. Henk Bekedam, had also met the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan on March 24 wherein they lauded the BJP Government for its “early and robust response.”
Earlier, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had also praised India’s efforts in containing the spread of coronavirus. The representative of WHO to India, Henk Bekedam said, “The commitment from the Indian government and the Prime Minister’s Office has been enormous, very impressive. It is one of the reasons why India is still doing quite well. I am very impressed that everyone has been mobilised.”