The Government of India is set to launch CoWin-20, a new smartphone app that aims to track individuals by their smartphone locations, and curb the community spread of coronavirus. With India precariously positioned at the brink of stage III of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian government now aims to trace the personal travel histories of individuals through CoWin-20, and figure out how many people might they have come in contact with. This, in turn, would help the Indian government monitor the community spread of the coronavirus, and quarantine any individual who may be potentially at risk.
The CoWin-20 app is now in beta testing for both iOS and Android, and sources close to the government have stated that the app will see its stable builds being released on both Google Play Store and Apple’s iOS App Store in the coming days. For now, the Android app is being distributed among a select group of users through an APK that can be installed on devices, whereas users of iOS devices will be required to share their device UDIDs with the National Informatics Centre to get a unique download link.
Alongside tracking the location of users to monitor the status of the community spread of coronavirus, an information poster shared of the app by Niti Aayog states that Cowin-20 can also be used by individuals to learn about the location of coronavirus testing labs as well as quarantine centres in Indian cities. Other features of the app include automatic feeding of government advisories and official safety recommendations put forth by the Government of India. The app is going to go live in a few days, and will be available widely across India.
Earlier today, the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown for three weeks until April 15, in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus across India. During this period, only essential services will remain open in India, which include grocery services, medical resources and the likes.