- After the new update Aarogya Setu app shows a tab called e-pass.
- The e-pass feature is not yet live. It is coming soon.
- The e-pass feature will categorise app users into Green, Orange and Red categories.
A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked every Indian to install the Aarogya Setu app in his address to the nation, India's official contact tracing app rolled out its fifth version on Wednesday. The new update gives us the first glimpse of how the app could be used as an electronic travel pass in the post-coronavirus world.
The new update introduces two new critical features called "e-pass" and "Covid Updates." The e-pass feature has made its way into the app with a "coming soon" disclaimer, suggesting it will still take some time for it to become fully functional.
Once operational, the e-pass feature will act as a filter for individuals visiting public places. The app will have three colours Green, Orange and Red based on the health and contact matrix of an individual.
The e-pass feature in the app is seemingly based on similar mechanism created in China. Based on the successful Chinese travel model, the Green Status will indicate a risk-free individual who can use public transport and visit public places, while a person with the Orange Status will be advised to avoid gatherings and maintain physical distance while being allowed to move for necessary work. Persons with Red Status will be strongly advised to self-quarantine.
Earlier, the principal scientific advisor of Government of India, K VijayRaghavan had told India Today, that "in coming days, through this app we can restrict the infection through asymptomatic cases by alerting the recent, past contacts of a positive case".
A feature phone version of Aarogya Setu will also be rolled out soon for non-smartphone users.
The second new feature in the app is the Covid Updates feature, which gives the statistics of total number of confirmed, recovered and deceased across the country with data from users place of residence on top of the chart.
Going forward, this data is likely to reflect intensity of cases in a local area to give users a sense of risk level in their neighbourhood. As of now, the data is limited to state-wise distribution of cases. The app currently has more than five crore active users.