Arogya Setu App in Jio Phones: Within days, India will be rolling out a version of its contact-tracing coronavirus application that can run on mobile carrier Reliance Jio’s cheap phones as it aims to expand the system’s reach, a senior official said.
India, which implemented the world’s largest shutdown to counter the spread of coronavirus, launched the Aarogya Setu (Health Bridge) app last month, a Bluetooth and GPS-based application that alert users who might have come into touch with people who later test COVID-19 for positive.
The Arogya Setu app downloaded more than 83 million times so far. This app was initially available to approximately 500 million smartphone users in India on Google’s Android and Apple devices, but not to approximately 400 million more basic phone users.
A version of the app rolled out within a week to more than 100 million JioPhone users – a cheap, internet-enabled feature phone running on a mobile operating system called KaiOS, a senior government official told Reuters.
“We are pushing it … the testing is going on,” said the official who declined to be named as the plan is not public.
India’s Technology Ministry and Reliance Jio didn’t respond immediately to emails seeking comment.
Contact tracing applications such as the Aarogya Setu used to speed up the process of identifying, testing and isolating people who are exposed to the virus before they spread it to others.
While many countries around the world use similar apps, some such as Australia and Colombia are turning to Apple and Alphabet’s Google technology in the midst of citizens’ concerns about privacy and glitchy state-supported systems.