Not that it’s a surprise or anything but the Government of India has officially discontinued Corona Kavach, just a few days after launching an even more comprehensive COVID-19 tracking app called Aarogya Setu. The Government of India is notifying all citizens that “the Corona Kavach app has been discontinued, (and) it has been further developed and a new app Aarogya Setu has been launched by GOI. Please uninstall the Corona Kavach app and install the Aarogya Setu app from (Google) Play Store and (Apple) App Store.”
In simple terms, Aarogya Setu is India’s go-to COVID-19 tracking app now replacing Corona Kavach for all intents and purposes. Having two different apps, serving more or less the same purpose, didn’t make any sense in the first place. To be fair, Corona Kavach was only available in beta for Android devices, still, it was one of the first few ‘verified’ apps put out by the Government of India to help users track COVID-19 cases in their vicinity, so they could stay away from the proverbial hot zones. Corona Kavach was 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).
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The Government of India never disclosed the number of people that signed up or registered for Corona Kavach beta testing, but chances are, the number may not be very high — especially when compared to Aarogya Setu. A simple search on the Google Play Store, where the app is still available for some reason, suggests it has been installed by over 10 lakh people. Aarogya Setu, in contrast, has been installed by over 50 lakh people — it is the top free app in India on both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store as of filing this report.
There are many reasons why Aarogya Setu has become ‘viral’ in India. The biggest reason, of course, being that it is the first ‘comprehensive’ COVID-19 tracking app from the Government of India. Unlike Corona Kavach, Aarogya Setu is fully stable and rolling out for all users on both Android and iOS. And the Government of India is being very vocal in promoting it across platforms. For instance, Aarogya Setu is being recommended by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE board) across schools and other educational institutions, spreading awareness about the app.
Unlike Corona Kavach, which was 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 tracks your location in real time, Bluetooth tracks if and when you come in close proximity with someone with novel coronavirus — up to a distance of 6 feet. The most important aspect of Aarogya Setu is that it has access to the Government of India’s database of known cases.
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