Prime Minister Narendra Modi has again urged citizens to download the Aarogya Setu app on their smartphones. In his address to the nation today announcing the extension of the lockdown till May 3 across India, he referred to the Aarogya Setu app as a critical link in the fight against the spread of the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, in the country. This comes after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi had over the weekend said that there is a possibility that the Aarogya Setu app could subsequently be used as an e-pass to facilitate travel from one place to another. One would believe this could be a reference to enabling essential travel as the lockdown continues in India, particularly for urgent or essential movement of people.
The Government of India had earlier this month officially released the Aarogya Setu app for Android and iOS devices. It is aimed at primarily tracking the community transmission and tracing the contact and travel history of individuals that are quarantined, infected or suspected of being susceptible to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. It is designed as a Coronavirus, or COVID-19 contact tracing app that uses the Bluetooth and location tracking technology in phones to note when they are near another user who also has the Aarogya Setu app installed on their phones—and this is consistently happening. This data is then matched and kept, and in case someone you have come in close proximity to is confirmed as infected by the Coronavirus, the health authorities will alert you to get yourself checked. You can download the Aarogya Setu app from the Google Play Store for Android phones and the Apple App Store for the iPhones.
The Aarogya Setu app uses both the location data and Bluetooth-based proximity tracking on users' phones, in order to keep a track of individuals that may have either been carriers of the COVID-19 disease or been affected by it.
The application comes with an interactive COVID-19 risk management window which clearly states to users that information collected through the app will be used by the government of India to track and manage the COVID-19 spread throughout the country. It also offers a self assessment test for users to take, which can be repeated through the app in case any symptoms are developed. The app recommends that users keep location to always on, as well as their Bluetooth connections, but does not state it as mandatory. In data sharing, it states, "The app does not allow your name and number to be disclosed to the public at large at any time."