India has been taking the IT (Information Technology) route, to solve challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. Many apps, like Aarogya Setu, are in use to track the spread of Covid – through contact tracing.
What is contact tracing?
Not a new procedure, the contact tracing has been used to break the transmission of disease from person to person. Was used in the fight against ebola spread in Africa, in contact-tracing the public authorities literally go and track all the people who the disease-infected person might have come in contact with.
Presently, for a largely populated country like India, the need for technology to level-up the contact tracing process is need of the hour – hence: the app-based contact tracing. Here, instead of an authority physically going and alerting the people, the app alerts the person if they might have come in contact with someone who has been tested positive. It does that by keeping track of all the people through Bluetooth technology who might have come in proximity.
Launched on April 2, the central government’s Aarogya Setu app enables contact tracing from their smartphones. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi making a personal appeal in his address on April 14, the app has crossed five crore downloads – makes it one of the fastest download apps in the country.
State governments have been using app-based contact tracing
Since 25 March, the police in the Kasaragod district of Kerela has been using Innefu’s Unmaze app in the Covid-19 hotspot for contact tracking. The app is reported to keeping track of about 20,000 people in quarantine through the app. The Survey of India has developed an app, SAHYOG with the task to complement Aarogya Setu app in contact-tracing, public health awareness, and self-assessment objectives. In the state of Karnataka, the nodal agency The Karnataka State Remote Sensing Applications Centre (KSRSAC) has created an app which keeps a track of the locations and travel history of patients registered with the app.
For non-smartphone users as well
Given the grim situation and with the rise of Covid cases, the need for increased coverage under contact tracing is critical. Created by Aiisma, an app by the same name works in conjunction with the information from the government authorities for contact tracing. The company claims it is the only app in India that works on smartphones as well as on non-smart phones (by using USSD feature used in non-smartphones). The company is in talks with a couple of states within India for a probable implementation of the application for the general public.