Aarogya Setu is Government of India’s first ‘comprehensive’ COVID-19 tracking app, here are all the details

Aarogya Setu is aimed to connect health services with the people to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The Government of India has launched Aarogya Setu, its first truly comprehensive COVID-19 tracking app that’s aimed to connect health services with the people to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak. The app is now available for all Android phones and iPhones in India. You can download it from Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Aarogya Setu is different from the MyGov app and also from Corona Kavach — another COVID-19 tracking app developed by the National e-Governance Division of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in association with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MHFW).

Here’s how the Government of India describes Aarogya Setu in the app description on the Google Play Store —

“Aarogya Setu is a mobile application developed by the Government of India to connect essential health services with the people of India in our combined fight against COVID-19. The app is aimed at augmenting the initiatives of the Government of India, particularly the Department of Health, in proactively reaching out to and informing the users of the app regarding risks, best practices and relevant advisories pertaining to the containment of COVID-19.”

What is Aarogya Setu? How to use?

Unlike Corona Kavach, which is a bare-bones COVID-19 location tracking app relying on people manually sharing their coronavirus stats to let others know as and when they come in contact with someone ‘positive,’ Aarogya Setu uses Bluetooth and GPS to inform you when you might possibly be at risk of exposure. While GPS will track your location in real time, Bluetooth will track if and when you come in close proximity with someone with novel coronavirus — up to a distance of 6 feet. While it looks like it would be better if more and more people download and install the app on their phones, Aarogya Setu will have access to the Government of India’s database of known cases. This means, you’re free to not share your stats with the Government of India — although it’s advisable that you do.

Just like Corona Kavach, Aarogya Setu also registers users through their phone numbers. The app sends a one time password (OTP) to the registered mobile number. You can choose to share granular details like name, age and all, but it’s completely optional. Unlike Corona Kavach, Aarogya Setu can keep tracking your vicinity as long as you have location action tracking set to ‘always’ in your phone’s settings, plus you’ll need to keep Bluetooth on as well — Corona Kavach offers a one-hour location tracking window to keep a check on your surroundings.

Your location data apparently stays offline on your device at all times. It is only when you’re possibly exposed and choose to share it that you come online and even then this data is shared only with the Government of India — and not with third parties.

Aarogya Setu also offers a host of other features in addition to COVID-19 tracking. Not only does it give you information about COVID-19, including do’s and don’ts and safety measures, but it also helps direct you to your nearest COVID-19 help center should you be exposed. Plus, there’s a handy column of social media feed inside the app that shows you tweets by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India in real time. Aarogya Setu supports 11 languages including Hindi and Marathi.

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