WHO chief all praise for Aarogya Setu app in controlling Covid spread

Director General Ghebreyesus said the app has helped government identify areas where clusters could be anticipated and increase Covid-19 testing in a targeted way

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is all praise for India’s Covid-19 contact tracing app ‘Aarogya Setu’, which, the WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, is one among several tech tools helping public health departments in identifying clusters and expand testing.

At a media briefing, Ghebreyesus laid stress on “tried and tested public health tools” like self-isolation and contract tracing to break the chain of Covid-19 transmission. He said technology has come to our aid by way of mobile applications which are making these tools more “effective”.

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“The Aarogya Setu application in India that has been downloaded by 150 million users is one such technology. Aarogya Setu has helped city public departments to identify areas where clusters could be anticipated and increase Covid-19 testing in a targeted way,” Ghebreyesus said.

The Government of India launched Aarogya Setu contact tracking app in April to alert users when they come in close contact with a Covid-19 infected person. The app also makes users aware if they have chances to get infected with the virus. A month later, the app came in for criticism from cyber experts who said the app was “too closed in nature and without adequate data protection measures”. Following this, the government released the source code of the app in an attempt to promote transparency.

Ghebreyesus also named contract tracing applications from Germany (Corona Warn app) and United Kingdom (NHS’s Covid-19 app) among others for their efficiency in tracing infected persons.

Also read: India to have COVID vaccine by early next year, says Harsh Vardhan

Ghebreyesus said the WHO was working with these countries to evaluate the effectiveness of their digital apps.

Earlier, the WHO chief had praised India’s efforts in containing the spread of coronavirus in Mumbai’s Dharavi slum.

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