A Bluetooth-based version of the Aarogya Setu app for JioPhone feature phones has been released earlier today, stated a report by Reuters citing an update from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). India’s technology ministry said on Thursday it had rolled out a version of its Bluetooth contact-tracing app for 5 million JioPhones, the inexpensive internet-enabled devices sold by Reliance Jio for users coming online for the first time.
India was set to roll out a version of its coronavirus contact-tracing application Aarogya Setu for JioPhones within days, as it looks to increase the reach of the system, Reuters reported last week. India, which imposed the world’s biggest shutdown in late March to battle the spread of the coronavirus, last month launched the Aarogya Setu app — a Bluetooth and GPS-based contact tracing application, which alerts users who may have come in contact with people who later test positive for Covid-19.
The app, which was now been downloaded by over 100 million Indians, was initially available only on Google’s Android and on Apple's iOS devices. With the reach extending to a select line of feature phones, the premise is being set for the contact tracing services to be rolled out to more feature phones going forward. Contact tracing emerged as a potential technology that can curb the community transmission phase of Covid-19, and has since attracted myriad discussions and debates across the world.
The Aarogya Setu app, introduced by the government of India, has since evolved in scope, and may represent the role of an e-pass for commuting and travelling, as the lockdown periods look set to gradually lift across the country. By rolling out to feature phones, the government of India will be able to successfully include the millions of users who are still actively using feature phones in the country.
(With inputs from Reuters)