Photo Credit: Google Play Store
Corona Kavach, a COVID-19 tracker, has been released by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in association with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MHFW). Currently in its beta stage, the app is still a work in progress and crashed more than a few times while we were testing it, and we also had a lot of trouble trying to generate an OTP to log in.
The goal however, is to use a person's smartphone data to track their location and alert if they are at risk of being exposed to the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). As per the official description, the app aims to provide information about coronavirus and capture information. The app is only available for Android right now.
The way it is supposed to work is simple — first, you fill out a form with six questions. It asks if you have any difficulty breathing, what your temperature is, if you've returned from a foreign country, whether you're feeling a body ache, if you have a dry cough or sore throat, and finally, if you've met anyone from a foreign country.
Based on these questions, the app sorts you into different categories — from code green, all fine, to orange, for see a doctor, yellow for quarantine, and red for infected. After that, whenever you go out of the house, you can press a button to activate the "Kavach", tracking your movements for an hour. If someone else has the app, and has marked themselves as infected or quarantine, and you come into the same vicinity, the app will give you an alert.
The problem is that for this to work, it will require an extraordinary amount of cooperation from the public. The idea is enough people will install this app, and will voluntarily inform the government about their infected status, and also remember to turn it on whenever they go out in public. This doesn't even take into account the method being used to identify when someone infected is in proximity — location tracking via GPS might not be accurate enough to do this effectively.
Because of these challenges, it's hard to say that the government's Corona Kavach will be very effective, but if you're still interested in getting the app, this is how you'll use it.
How are we staying sane during this Coronavirus lockdown? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.