The deadly Covid-19 pandemic has taken the world by surprise with the way it continues to spread like wildfire in every corner of the world. With no vaccine in sight, social distancing and stringent lockdown restrictions are the only reliable tools to battle the virus at the moment. These practices have helped to bring the virus under control to a great extent. But still, there is no surety if these can wipe out the coronavirus pandemic completely.
Weeks after lifting restrictions, South Korea and China have reported new cases of coronavirus infection. And Wuhan, where the virus first emerged in December, also reported new cases after the city re-opened after a 76-day lockdown. The fear of a second wave is still looming large. In India too. Both the central and state governments have been working aggressively to control the virus, from imposing a nationwide lockdown to leveraging technological support. Not only the government, private players, healthcare organisations, tech giants, etc have come with various technological solutions.
Among these several innovative and emerging technologies, mobile applications have also emerged as an effective medium to prevent the rapid spread of fast-moving coronavirus. These apps work more or less like the detective’s modus operandi—finding the infected people, their travel history, who they recently interacted with, etc.
The technique, known as contact tracing, is significantly helping to stem the coronavirus outbreak. Besides, apps help in reducing the complexity involved in the process, controlling the situation before it gets out of hand, and save considerable time. Moreover, these are useful tools for disseminating up-to-date news and verified information on the coronavirus pandemic, vaccine developments, containment zones, quarantine facilities, etc.
Mobile apps have also come forth as an effective medium to raise awareness campaigns for tackling misinformation concerning the Covid-19 crisis. This false information, ranging from the number of fatalities, medicines, cure, and treatment methods to government policies, can put lives at risk. This proliferation of incorrect information from unreliable sources adds more fear, confusion, and anxiety among the people. At these desperate times, people are hungry for information; therefore, any misinformation can spiral into greater problems.
During a pandemic, clear and transparent information to the populace is critical to ensure that they are well informed and taking appropriate precautions. The development of mobile apps is helpful to educate and warn the masses by giving accurate information, which in turn can make a mammoth difference in the battle against the pandemic.
One should be aware that there are multiple apps available, however, it can be quite confusing for a user to decide the ‘right app.’ Here’s a list of useful coronavirus-related apps that will help to fight against the coronavirus.
This Covid-19 tracking app, developed by the Indian government, is one of the most downloaded apps globally. The app has crossed 100 million downloads since its launch on April 2, 2020. Notably, the app will witness a surge in the number of downloads in the coming days as the central government has made it mandatory for all the employees both in government and private sector, train travellers, and those stranded Indians flying back to their states.
The app uses a smartphone’s GPS and Bluetooth features to track the coronavirus infection. It keeps track of the persons who are infected, who have come in contact with infected individuals and who are at high risk of being infected. The app collects data, which is broadly divided into four categories, such as demographic data, contact data, self-assessment data, and location data. This is collectively called response data. The app is available in eleven languages.
Launched by the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in association with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), the app is available on Google Play store. The highlight of the app is that it gives users a real-time location of coronavirus infected people. The app also keeps you updated about real-time information on infected cases, mortality rates, and cured cases. The users’ location is mapped through GPS on the app to trace whether they are in high-risk locations or not. The app also provides other relevant official information and guidelines pertaining to novel coronavirus, issued by the government. Data experts express that the app is advantageous for a country like India as the vast majority of the population has access to cellphones.
Corona Virus Alert App (COVA) has been developed by the government of Punjab to keep citizens updated on the latest preventive care information and other government advisories. The app is very user friendly, providing a real-time dashboard for Punjab, India, and global stats. Users can have a quick self-screening, check their health status, and find out the distance between them and the nearest infected person.
Besides, the app provides information on travel instructions, corona hospitals in Punjab, and the list of people home quarantined and hospital quarantined. The app has the feature to connect with doctors and hospitals. It allows to generate curfew pass, request essentials, and report mass gatherings. Further, the users receive updates from government, advisories, and instructions from time to time via push notifications on the app.
Built by MeitY, the app has been created in public interest to gather information or feedback from individuals about treatment/test they have experienced. This helps the government to highlight the efficiency of the process, and at the same time identify the problem areas to rectify.
Developed by the Revenue Department of the government of Karnataka, the app is mandatory for individuals who are being quarantined at home. It helps the state authorities to keep a track of people under watch. They are asked to self-report while in quarantine by sending their details. To ensure that they are following the isolation norms, it has been made compulsory for home quarantined persons to take a selfie every hour except between 10pm and 7am. Every selfie is examined by the monitoring team. In cases where individuals are found defying the isolation norms, they are shifted to a mass quarantine facility.
The app helps to bridge the information gap in your locality or your community. It broadcasts important news and information on the current situation/happening in the locality and also shares security warnings and updates. It is beneficial for societies or localities under quarantine due to Covid-19 positive cases, and elderly people who are finding it difficult to get access to medical and essential facilities.
The app helps to connect communities digitally by sharing information and solutions, such as local issues, security issues, and to the extent of connecting with local vendors. It makes it easier to offer or get help from neighbours, and start discussions with them. The app enhances community engagement and togetherness to gain control over the spread of coronavirus.
If you know any other Covid 19 apps, do comment us below, we will add it to this article.