Even as privacy concerns around the Aarogya Setu app remain unresolved, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) — responsible for security at airports and Delhi Metro stations — has proposed that passengers should have the app on their phones, among other things to ensure social distancing, to avail of services. The CISF has also proposed that frisking will be done using metal detectors from a distance of 2.5 metres, and that people with flu-like symptoms will be barred from the premises. This was reported by the Indian Express.
Aarogya Setu is the Indian government’s contact-tracing app, which works using Bluetooth and location services. Apart from helping trace contacts, the app also evaluates the degree of risk people face from the virus, based on gender, age, symptoms, medical history, and travel history. The app then recommends if the person needs to isolate themselves, log their temperature, or get tested immediately.
The CISF plans to used the app to identify people suspected of having the COVID-19 infection. People with high-risk for both spreading and contracting the infection should be “discouraged” from using the metro, according to the Indian Express. These steps are proposals reportedly based on discussions with stakeholders, and will be implemented only after receiving the consent of the ministries involved. However, it is worth mentioning that the proposal poses a possible hurdle for passengers who do not have smartphones, or are unable to install and use the app for other reasons.
Passengers will also be screened thermally at entry points of metro stations and airports, according to the report, and those with abnormal temperatures and having a cold, cough, and other flu-like symptoms will not be allowed to enter. Measures for extra care during frisking, including sanitising premises every two hours, mandating masks for all passengers, will also reportedly be adopted. CISF has also proposed keeping four PPE suits at all metro stations to handle suspected passenger or baggage, per the report.
Aarogya Setu has gradually creeped in as a mandatory requirement at various places. Developed as a contact-tracing app, the government is soon expected to use it as an e-pass to enable movement. Employees of pubic broadcaster Prasar Bharati have been mandated to download and “activate” the app; personnel of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) personnel have been instructed to do the same. Apart from government agencies, gig workers such as those with Urban Company and Zomato, have also been mandated to install the app.