Amid the rising cases of coronavirus COVID-19, World Health Organization's (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has lauded the Aarogya Setu app saying that the app has helped city public health departments to identify areas where clusters could be anticipated.
Speaking at the Regional Committee of the WHO Eastern Mediterranean, Ghebreyesus added that the Aarogya Setu app has expanded testing in a targeted way. Aarogya Setu is the biggest COVID-19 contact tracing app in the world.
An official statement read, "The Aarogya Setu app from India has been downloaded by 150 million users, and has helped city public health departments to identify areas where clusters could be anticipated and expand testing in a targeted way."
"The Aarogya Setu app from has been downloaded by 150M users, & has helped city public health departments to identify areas where clusters could be anticipated & expand testing in a targeted way"-@DrTedros #COVID19
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) October 12, 2020
On September 21, Minister of State for Electronics and IT Sanjay Dhotre had said that the app has more than 15.71 crore registered users. In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, he had said the app has maintained "utmost transparency" in all aspects. He had said Aarogya Setu is equipped with security features to protect the confidentiality and security of users' data.
The Aarogya Setu app is not allowed access from outside India, the minister had said. In addition, the app has been "indigenously designed to cater to the specific demographics of India, and the features and functionalities in the app are built accordingly", he had said.
The app's data is encrypted in transit as well as at rest. Personal information provided at the time of registration is encrypted before being uploaded to the back-end server, where it is stored in encrypted form, he had said, adding that the data collected by the app is governed by stipulated protocols and policy.
Response data from Aarogya Setu is shared with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, state governments and other ministries and departments, "where such sharing is strictly necessary to directly formulate or implement an appropriate health response", he had said.
On October 12, Ghebreyesus had said that we cannot just wait for the COVID-19 vaccine but must save lives with tools we have at hand. "Through the access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator and the COVAX Facility, we’re working to ensure that if and when a vaccine is proven to be safe and effective, it will be accessible equitably for all countries in your region. But we cannot just wait for a vaccine. We must save lives with the tools we have at hand," the WHO chief had said.
"It’s hard to imagine that when this Committee met a year ago, COVID-19 was still completely unknown to us. How the world has changed," Ghebreyesus had added.
He had said that the coronavirus pandemic has upended the world's health systems, societies, and economies and added, "Cases are increasing in the region, and all countries must remain vigilant. The virus is still circulating and most people remain susceptible." Ghebreyesus had said that the 'hard-won gains can be easily lost'.
According to WHO's COVID-19 data at 12:20 AM on October 13, there have been 3,74,23,660 confirmed cases across the world with over 10,74,817 deaths.