Info-tech

WHO to develop coronavirus app for self-assessment; likely to add contact tracing features

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on May 09, 2020 Published on May 09, 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) is planning to launch a new coronavirus app to enable people from under-resourced countries to self-assess their symptoms for Covid-19, Reuters reported on Saturday.

The organization is also considering a Bluetooth-based contact tracing feature for the app, the report said.

The app will be a self-assessment tool for people to understand more about their symptoms, their risk of infection and offers necessary guidance for the same according to Bernardo Mariano, chief information officer for the WHO. It will also have personalized information such as how to get tested that will be customized as per the user’s country.

The WHO will release a version on app stores across the world. It will also enable governments to take the app’s underlying technology, and features to help them release their own version on app stores, the report said.

The idea is to offer the technology in other countries that do not have their own contact tracing solutions, including some countries in South America and Africa where cases are surging.

“The value is really for countries that do not have anything,” Mariano said as quoted by Reuters. “We would be leaving behind the ones that are not able to (provide an app), that have fragile health systems.”

Countries such as India, Australia and the United Kingdom have their own government-issued contact tracing apps. In India, government’s contact tracing app Aargoya Setu had close to nine crore downloads by May 4 according to reports.

WHO had previously released its WHO Info app for Android, iOS and Web.

The official WHO information app is meant to provide daily updates on Covid-19 including the latest news, feature stories, fact sheets, disease outbreak updates, and public health emergency information.

The WHO is planning to release its guidance app on whether countries should consider developing their own tracking solutions next week, the report added.

Published on May 09, 2020

A letter from the Editor


Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu Business Line editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.