Aarogya Setu (translation from Sanskrit: the bridge to liberation from disease) is an Indian COVID–19 "contact tracing, syndromic mapping and self-assessment" digital service, primarily a mobile app, developed by the National Informatics Centre under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). The app reached more than 100 million installs in 40 days. On 26 May, amid growing privacy and security concerns, the source code of the app was made public.
The World Health Organisation lauded the Aarogya Setu mobile application for helping health departments to identify COVID-19 clusters
The stated purpose of this app is to spread awareness of COVID–19 and to connect essential COVID–19-related health services to the people of India. This app augments the initiatives of the Department of Health to contain COVID–19 and shares best practices and advisories. It is a tracking app which uses the smartphone's GPS and Bluetooth features to track the coronavirus infection.
The app is available for Android and iOS mobile operating systems. With Bluetooth, it tries to determine the risk if one has been near (within six feet of) a COVID–19-infected person, by scanning through a database of known cases across India. Using location information, it determines whether the location one is in belongs to one of the infected areas based on the data available. This app is an updated version of an earlier app called Corona Kavach (now discontinued) which was released earlier by the Government of India.
Aarogya Setu crossed five million downloads within three days of its launch, making it one of the most popular government apps in India. It became the world's fastest-growing mobile app, beating Pokémon Go, with more than 50 million installs 13 days after launching in India on 2 April 2020.
It reached 100 million installs by 13 May 2020, that is in 40 days since its launch. In an order on 29 April 2020 the central government made it mandatory for all employees to download the app and use it – "Before starting for office, they must review their status on Aarogya Setu and commute only when the app shows safe or low risk". The Union Home Ministry also said that the application is mandatory for all living in the COVID-19 containment zone.
The government gave the announcement along with the nationwide lockdown extension by two weeks from the 4 May with certain relaxations. On 21 May 2020, the Airport Authority of India issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) stating that all departing passengers must compulsorily be registered with the Aarogya Setu app. It added that the app would not be mandatory for children below 14 years. However, the next day, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri clarified that the app would not be mandatory for any passengers.
Features and tools
Aarogya Setu has four sections:
- User Status (tells the risk of getting COVID-19 for the user)
- Self Assess (helps the users identify COVID-19 symptoms and their risk profile)
- COVID-19 Updates (gives updates on local and national COVID-19 cases)
- E-pass integration (if applied for E-pass, it will be available)
- See Recent Contacts option (allows the users to assess the risk level of their Bluetooth contacts)
It tells how many COVID-19 positive cases are likely in a radius of 500 m, 1km, 2km, 5 km and 10km from the user.
The app is built on a platform that can provide an application programming interface (API) so that other computer programs, mobile applications, and web services can make use of the features and data available in Aarogya Setu.