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.
Here’s how to use Corona Kavach
- Upon opening the Corona Kavach app, it shows a screen which says that app has been developed by MeitY and MHFW.
- You can read through the next few screens, and then the app asks for permissions to track your location, and to access files on your device, (the reason for this permission is not explained to the user), and then finally, it asks you to register with a one time password (OTP) sent to your mobile number.
- From the homepage, you can get some basic information about the number of people infected, the number of people cured, and the number of deaths. You can also go into the menu, and fill in the questionnaire so it knows your status.
- Clicking the Corona Kavach logo will start the one-hour countdown, which is how long the app will track your location.
- In case you come into contact with someone else who has set their status to infected, the app is supposed to issue an alert, but otherwise, that’s all you need to know about how to use the app.