The government on Thursday launched a mobile app to help people assess themselves the risk of catching coronavirus infection and alert authorities if they have come in close contact with a person infected with the deadly virus.

According to a ministry official, the app will detect only fresh cases and will send out alerts to only those who have been nearby the infected person.

"The App, called 'AarogyaSetu' joins Digital India for the health and well-being of every Indian. It will enable people to assess themselves the risk of catching the coronavirus infection. It will calculate this based on their interaction with others, using cutting edge bluetooth technology, algorithms and artificial intelligence," an official statement said.

If a person is clinically tested positive with coronavirus infection, the mobile number of the infected person is included in the register maintained by the health ministry and will be updated on the app as well, an IT ministry official explained.

"Once installed in a smartphone through an easy and user-friendly process, the app detects other devices with AarogyaSetu installed that come in the proximity of that phone. The app can then calculate the risk of infection based on sophisticated parameters if any of these contacts are tested positive," the statement said.

The government has announced a 21 lockdown starting March 24 and appealed to everyone to maintain social distancing to avoid the risk of getting infected with the deadly virus which has killed over 40,000 people globally and 50 in India.

As on date, 2,116 people in the country have been diagnosed with the coronavirus infection out of which there are 150 have been cured or discharged and 1,764 cases remain active.

"The App will help the government take necessary timely steps for assessing the risk of spread of COVID-19 infection, and ensuring isolation where required," the statement said.

The government said that privacy is priority for the app users and the personal data collected by the app is encrypted and will stay secure on the phone till it is needed for facilitating medical intervention.

"Available in 11 languages, the App is ready for pan-India use from day-1 and has highly scalable architecture," the statement said.

The mobile app has been developed in a public-private partnership to bring the people of India together in a resolute fight against COVID-19, the IT ministry said. PTI PRS

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