|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2022 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 3
Aarogya Setu - Digitized COVID-19 contact tracing in India with infinite possibilities
Department of Anaesthesiology, Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
|Date of Submission||31-May-2021|
|Date of Decision||17-Jun-2021|
|Date of Acceptance||24-Jun-2021|
|Date of Web Publication||17-Feb-2022|
Department of Anaesthesiology, Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram - 695 011, Kerala
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Suresh V. Aarogya Setu - Digitized COVID-19 contact tracing in India with infinite possibilities. Digit Med 2022;8:3
The COVID-19 pandemic has emerged transnational, crossing boundaries both land and sea. It has affected almost all nations, paralyzed social life, human movements, shattered economies, and incapacitated health-care systems worldwide. “Test,” “trace,” “isolate,” and “treat” forms the backbone of coronavirus mitigation response. The fact that the number of patients generated after exposure to one COVID-19 patient is 2.2–3.6 underlines the paramount role of contact tracing. The conventional manual contact tracing and mapping of contacts lags by days and the disease must have spread to hundreds when it comes to transmission of coronavirus. Digital contact tracing assumes importance in this juncture.
“Aarogya Setu” (Hindi word meaning Aarogya = health and Setu = bridge to) is a free smartphone application launched recently by the Indian Government in 11 Indian languages on android and iOS platforms for digital contact tracing of COVID-19 cases. A 500 million smartphone user base in the country is a sound foundation to such an initiative. Application user privacy is guaranteed by the government and private information of users is not disclosed to any third party/public. On installation, the application prompts the user to enter a few personal details along with the user's ten-digit Indian contact number. A GPS- and Bluetooth-assisted tracking system traces the social map of users and is saved as digital algorithms in the central database. Any time a user comes in contact with a COVID-19 case, the application alerts with a notification. The application also alerts the user if someone who has come in close proximity, even unknowingly, tests COVID-19 positive and further transmits the contact map to the health authorities. The application alerts are accompanied by instruction on how to self-isolate and support the user by connecting to the public health system in case of development of symptoms.
The contact map of cases assists in early decontamination of public facilities. The artificial intelligence-generated digital algorithm can be used to color-code various regions in the country as red, yellow, and green, a data which can assist authorities in easing the present “lockdown” regulations. At present, there are more than 100 million users for the “Aarogya Setu” in India. Linking the “Aadhaar” – the 1.22 billion Indian citizen biometric database – with “Aarogya Setu” has vast future potential in easing international travel, social mapping, and containing any catastrophic epidemic disasters in the post-COVID-19 era, provided public trust and transparency are ensured.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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