The state government of Maharashtra has announced the launch of MahaKavach, a smartphone app that will help government officials to track suspected COVID-19 cases in the state. The app is not being openly listed on Android or iOS app stores, and according to internal sources, will only be used by the government to track specific, suspected COVID-19 cases, or those who have already been put in quarantine by health officials in the state. The app will use smartphone-based location services, and will be used to geo-fence the individuals as India fights to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from reaching a community transmission stage.
Sources in the Maharashtra government have confirmed that the app will not be accessible to everyone, as the state government aims to use it for very targeted cases. With multiple cases of COVID-19 patients either hiding their travel history or known to have broken quarantine, the MahaKavach app by the Maharashtra government will help authorities keep a track of those who have been placed in quarantine. In ways, this may also help the authorities in contact tracing by accessing the location history of the suspected COVID-19 cases in the state, in turn identifying all other individuals who may have been in close proximity of the suspected cases.
As India presently stands on the brink of the community transmission stage of COVID-19, smartphone apps such as these are becoming increasingly commonplace. According to reports, the MahaKavach app has been developed jointly by the Nashik Municipal Corporation, the Maharashtra State Innovation Society, the Nashik District Innovation Council and the Nashik Municipal Smart City Development Corporation. Since the governing body wants to use it only for specific cases, sources in the Maharashtra state government have clarified that it will only available for download via a link or QR code that will be provided to specific individuals personally.