Government employees must download the "Aarogya Setu" app – meant to contain coronavirus -- and go to work only if they receive a go-ahead from it. The order, which came from the Department of Personnel and Training today, applies to all staff members, including outsources staff, working with the Central government. All autonomous and statutory bodies and Public Sector Units must observe the rule, the government has said.
The order came a day after the central Delhi offices of NITI Aayog - the government's policy think tank - was sealed for 48 hours after an employee tested positive for coronavirus. People who came in contact with the employee have been asked to quarantine themselves.
Titled "Effective use of 'Aarogya Setu' App for breaking the chain of transmission of COVID-19", the order says before starting for work, the employees must review their status and commute "only when the app shows 'safe' or 'low risk' status".
"In case the App shows a message that he/she has a "moderate" or "high risk" calculated on the basis of Bluetooth proximity ("recent contact with an infected person"), he /she should not come to office and self-isolate for 14 days or till the status becomes 'safe' or 'low risk'," the order said.
Earlier this month, the government made a major push for the app after it was launched, advocating its use in educational institutions.
The Central Board of secondary Education or the CBSE wrote to all school principals, recommending the app, which was developed by the government to fight against COVID-19.
The app provides information on best practices and advisories on the containment of COVID-19. It also shows the user's risk factor depending on his or her movement, and proximity to infected or at risk people, on the basis of Bluetooth data.
All the information is vetted by the government's Department of Health.
With the Bluetooth data feature raising concern about privacy issues, the app has underscored data safety. "Your data will only be shared with the Government of India. The app does not allow your name and number to be disclosed to the public at large at any time," it tells the user before registration.