Covid-19: Over 1.33 lakh users of Aarogya Setu app have tested positive

Maitri Porecha New Delhi | Updated on June 25, 2020

The Aarogya Setu app logo   -  REUTERS

Another 1.5 lakh high risk contacts were tested, 35,000 are positive

The Aarogya Setu Covid-19 tracking app, developed by the Central government, has a total of 13.5 crore users, of which over 1.33 lakh users were found to have been tested positive for the virus.

India has confirmed over 4.73 lakh Covid-19 positive cases. This means that one in roughly four to five positive patients is using the app.

The government think tank Niti Aayog’s Arnab Kumar, who is a part of the app development team, said that 67 per cent of users have completed their self assessment, which determines if the person is positive or at risk of developing infection.

Tracing contacts

For each positive patient, the app was able to trace on an average 28 contacts that the patient may have been in contact with, resulting in tracing of over 28 lakh contacts. “Of these 1.5 lakh contacts which were further categorised as ‘high risk’ were subjected to Covid-19 tests and 35,000 of them were confirmed positive,” Kumar said.

The app has also led to identification of potential hotspots between three to 17 days, before the situation escalated in such areas. Over 11,100 emerging and potential hotspots were identified. “It is a prediction based on self assessment from Aarogya Setu and exposure of different regions to Covid positive patients in the last 15 days. These findings are co-related with field level inputs,” Kumar said.

With artificial intelligence, the Aarogya Setu team derived insights that the risk of infection goes down if distance between two people is over two metres. “We also found that infection usually peaks between eight to 10 days of setting in. Till that time, the infected person can go around spreading the infection without realising,” Kumar observed.

Reset health status

On complaints from users that despite being tested negative, the app still shows them positive, Kumar said, “We periodically evaluate the risk of infection, and reset the status of the user within two weeks.”

After emerging privacy concerns, Kumar stated that a sunset clause of a maximum of 180 days has been added, by which all data including that of positive infected patients will be deleted from the app.

The Centre aims that the app should receive at least 45 crore downloads. “We were naive to think that we should have close to 450 million downloads in a 24-hour period since the launch on April 14. But we made robust systems, and even when the downloads reached a lakh users per minute, the systems did not blink,” said Kumar.

The app also enables calls to those detected positive and those infected are hand-held through treatment. Risk factors are assessed telephonically, and high risk patients receive calls from our doctors and are monitored for potential hospitalisation, Kumar stated.

Published on June 25, 2020

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