The Indian government’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has released an app that it says will help prevent the spread of the disease in the country. Called Corona Kavach, the app has been designed to track not only COVID-19 patients, but everybody who might have come in contact with them and others who tested positive for the virus. A beta version of the app is currently available for download on Android, while an iOS version of the app is said to be in the works.
Developed jointly by MeitY and the Health Ministry, Corona Kavach, or Corona Shield, will use GPS tracking to chart the recent locations visited by any user and if any of those locations match with the location data of known positive cases, it will trigger an alert. The app claims to guide users based on their health status, with Green indicating all’s good, Brown indicating that the user should see a doctor, Yellow indicating that they should immediately quarantine themselves and red meaning a positive COVID-19 case.
The app’s privacy policies are not entirely clear, but it does say that users’ location data stays offline unless there’s a “potential health risk”. Do note that users have to first login to the app with their phone number before they can get any info. While we do get that the app’s preliminary purpose is to track people with possible exposure to SARS-CoV-2, it would have been better if it also came with more information about COVID-19.
While the app does provide some rudimentary info about the COVID-19 scene in India, users looking for more details will do better to check out covid19india.org to get a much clearer picture without having to give up on their privacy. Run by volunteers, the site curates news from reputable outlets and official statistics from the government to offer a complete picture of the coronavirus situation in the country. Users can also wait for the upcoming WHO app that promises to bring much more information about the disease and how to mitigate it.