In order to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, both central and state governments have ramped up their efforts, which includes launching smartphone applications.
While some applications are keeping a tab on people under home quarantine, others are busting fake news and also assisting citizens.
Here's a list of COVID-19 related apps:
Launched by Centre:
Aarogya Setu: The Aarogya Setu is a tracking app that has been recently launched by the Centre to find out about coronavirus infection cases using a GPS system and Bluetooth – features present in all smartphones. The government will use these smartphone features to determine if a person is living close to a patient of COVID-19. The application supports 11 languages.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Chatbot: The Prime Minister had announced the launch of a WhatsApp chatbot so that the citizens can get instant and authentic answers to all their queries related to the coronavirus pandemic. All they have to do is drop a ‘Hi’ on the number 919013151515. One can also call on the MyGov Corona Helpdesk to get answers to pertinent queries such as the symptoms of the deadly disease, nearest COVID-19 testing facility.
Corona Kavach: Another COVID-19 tracker application, this was created by the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. This application provides users with real-time location of infected users who have activated the ‘Kavach’ feature.
COVID-19 Feedback: This application was developed by the Centre to get direct feedback from people who have undergone coronavirus treatment in the country.
Launched by state governments:
Goa: The Goa Health Ministry collaborated with Innovaccer to develop the ‘Test Yourself Goa’ application. It was launched to help users self-diagnose and find out if they have any telling symptom associated with the novel coronavirus disease.
Puducherry: Innovaccer also joined hands with the Puducherry government to develop the ‘Test Yourself Puducherry’ application.
Tamil Nadu: To ensure that people under home quarantine do not violate any rule, the COVID-19 Quarantine Monitor application was launched. The Tamil Nadu government collaborated with Pixxon Ai Solutions to develop this app. Users can also use the application to check if they have any COVID-19 symptom.
Karnataka: Karnataka government has launched more than one application to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. One of them is the ‘Quarantine Watch’, which is similar to Tamil Nadu’s COVID-19 Quarantine Monitor and monitors citizens under home quarantine. It has a GPS-based feature that helps track people under home quarantine to make sure they do not venture out. It also has a provision to send selfies to the government to prove they are strictly following isolation rules.
The other app is ‘Corona Watch’ that reportedly shows the location of COVID-19-infected persons and their movement history of 14 days. The app developed by Karnataka Geographic Information System Agency features a map of Karnataka that highlights all spots visited by COVID-19 patients before they were diagnosed.
Punjab: The COVA Punjab was launched by the Punjab government. It is essentially a coronavirus tracker that can also be used to obtain curfew passes and report large gatherings of people.
Kerala: The Kerala government launched the ‘GoK Direct’ app to increase awareness on the coronavirus pandemic. It is essentially a news providing application.
National Capital Region: The ‘Noida Authority Apurti Suvidha’ application was launched this week to start home delivery of essential items to residents.
Maharashtra: The ‘Mahakavach’ app was developed to trace the contact history of COVID-19 patients, by finding out the places they visited and people they interacted with before the virus infection was detected.Follow our full coverage here