As India registered a record jump of 4,213 Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, the government on Monday said some relatively large outbreaks have been noticed in particular locations and it is important to focus on containment efforts to ensure that the country does not reach the community transmission stage.
Aarogya Setu, the mobile application to help track Covid-19 patients, has alerted around 140,000 users in the country about a possible risk of infection due to proximity to infected persons, an official said on Monday, even as the government mulled making this app mandatory for air passengers. The official also said the app helped generate information about 697 potential hotspots in the country.
Asked if there has been a community transmission of the disease, joint secretary in the health ministry Lav Agarwal said,
“Some clusters have been found here (in the country), and in some cases in some particular locations relatively large outbreaks have also been noticed.”
Sawhney, heading the empowered group 9 on technology and data management during Covid, stressed on the privacy controls on the app, and said that it was among the most secure apps to have been developed. The IT ministry also released
The Aarogya Setu Data Access and Knowledge Sharing Protocol, 2020 on Monday. Of the total number of people using the app, “less than 13,000” were found to be Covid-positive, said Sawhney. However, around 140,000 using the app on their phones were found to have come in contact with someone who was Covid-positive, and alerted.
“We are also able to find spots that could possibly turn into hotspots, so that we can take immediate preventive action,” Sawhney added. So far, 697 such hotspots have been identified through the use of the overall health surveillance system, of which Aarogya Setu is one part. States and districts are notified once a hotspot gets identified.
The government has also developed an interactive voice response system for landline phones and feature phone users, who can call on “1921” to get their health status checked on the phone. He said the information gathered through the app was only used for Covid-related health interventions, and that all information was deleted from the device after 30 days. Data on servers was deleted after 45 days for non-risk users, and 60 days after patients were cured.
Further, the Centre has also built a Covid-19 Saavdhaan System, which has sent 165 million texts to a targeted geographical area identified by state governments. A Covid Quarantine Alert System has also been set up for better monitoring of people, who have been advised to quarantine. So far, 345,000 quarantine alerts have been sent.