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Coronavirus crisis: Aarogya Setu app now mandatory for all central govt employees

The government has made it mandatory for all central government officials to use the Aarogya Setu mobile app on their mobile phones. In the latest statement, the Centre said: “All the officers, staff (including outsources staff) working in Central government should download ‘Aarogyasetu’ App on their mobile phones, immediately. Before starting for office, they must review their status on ‘Aarogyasetu’ and commute only when the app shows ‘safe’ or ‘low risk’.”

In case the app shows a message ‘moderate’ or ‘high risk’ — which is calculated based on Bluetooth proximity of recently contacted person — the employees have been advised not to come to office and self-isolate for 14 days or till it becomes ‘safe’ or ‘low risk’, the order passed by Joint Secretary G Jayanthi said. All joint secretaries, ministry departments, all autonomous bodies or statutory bodies and PSUs have been told to ensure the orders are strictly followed.

Besides, the Centre has said states have been highly appreciative of Aarogya Setu app, and that a similar solution for feature phones will be launched soon. The Centre has also allowed private e-commerce companies to operate provided their employees download ‘Aarogya Setu’ app and follow other social distancing norms.

What is Aarogya Setu app

The central government of India launched Aarogya Setu on April 3 to track the spread of COVID-19 in the country. Aarogya Setu app alerts people if any person in their vicinity has tested positive. The district administration has been asking all educational institutions and departments to push downloading of the app. The current version of Aarogya Setu app is primarily compatible with smartphones only.

Since its launch, over one crore people have download Aarogya Setu. The app has largely received positive reviews on the Play Store. In fact, it has become No.1 free app in the Indian mobile application market.

Here’s how you can download the app:

Step 1: Go to Play Store and search Aarogya Setu
Step 2: Click on Install
Step 3: Once the app gets installed, select the language
Step 4: Switch on Bluetooth and location
Step 5: Set “location sharing” to always. Location data is sent to the government.

How does the app work?

The user carries out the self-assessment test through chatbox on the app. The bot asks gender, age, foreign-travel history, and symptoms.

This data is used to identify risk and alert other users if they come across anyone suspected of coronavirus.

The app is available in 11 languages-English, Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Bengali, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia.

Aarogya Setu is based on Singapore’s successful community tracing app “TraceTogether”. Other countries are also developing similar kinds of apps to limit the spread of coronavirus.

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