26 April Kathmandu, 2020
The government is planning to launch a new app to trace the COVID-19 infected. The name of the app which is in its final phase of development is COVID-NP.
People can expect this app to have an integrated feature combining multiple functions. This app can help detect potential coronavirus infections using Bluetooth tracking.
The concept for this app was made public when Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli addressed the nation earlier on April 9. He mentioned that a tracing app is in development which will assist to identify those infected with the coronavirus.
Prime Minister’s IT Consultant, Asgar Ali, said that COVID NP was ready during a videoconferencing held on April 25. The government is preparing to make the app public through a formal event in a few days.
How will COVID NP help to fight the Coronavirus outbreak in Nepal?
Talking about the app, it is currently available in Google Play Store. It was last updated on April 21 and has over 100+ downloads. The app acts as a platform where the public can find authentic and official updates on COVID-19 status from the government in Nepal.
The app needs permission from the user to gain access to location and Bluetooth. It also has the feature to read phone numbers if we allow permission for it.
The app will reportedly integrate existing scattered government data. “In the current situation, the app will help to create and analyze data and fight against COVID-19,” Asgal Ali said. He also informed that the ‘Hamro Swasthya’ app developed by the Ministry of Health will also be used.
Furthermore, the app has a function called Self COVID-19 Test. It basically asks questions to the users and based on the answers, it recommends the next action. It also provides information on electronic passes, household needs, and public announcements.
Moreover, you will be able to report any suspect or security threats directly through the app. It provides all the information regarding Coronavirus awareness and status. In addition, patients can consult doctors regarding their health status through the app itself.
Users will be able to shop for household needs directly from the app. And, it also has a quick Emergency Call function for any case of emergency.
This app has been developed by the National Information Technology Center (NITC) under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MoCIT).
Click here to download the app.
Good Initiative or Just another COVID-19 App?
Well, it is not the first COVID-19 awareness or tracing app. However, it is the first from the government that will have integrated features. The app from MoHP had a clear intention of informing people about the current situation of the COVID-19 outbreak in Nepal.
Both the web portal and mobile app had more or less the same features. The web portal: covid19.mohp.gov.np contains official numbers of the infected, under observation, and suspected cases. Also, it gave the number of tests done and death cases.
The mobile app is no different from the web portal. However, you can also do a self-assessment test if you think you have COVID-19 symptoms.
Apart from the Ministry, Nepal Army and Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) also have launched their own app to fight the pandemic. However, the differences between these apps are not too significant.
Read More: Nepal Army Launches COVID-19 Response App
The KMC app has something called the Triage Test which gives a clearer output of infection. The Nepal Army app, however, seems useless as it just presents the information and nothing more.
So, the question still remains ‘why are there so many apps and web portals?’. If the aim is to provide the basic attributes of information and self-test, why invest time and money on separate apps?
The COVID NP app promises to integrate scattered government data to provide live updates with the feature of self-test. A single app would suffice to spread awareness and information regarding the COVID-19 spread in Nepal. There’s no need to confuse the public with multiple apps giving the same information.
COVID NP app is pretty helpful and informative. It integrates several features that help the public in every possible way. However, it would be better if it included a single dashboard for what all other coronavirus-related apps provide.
In our opinion, there is no need for all these apps for the same basic purpose. The COVID NP app suffices most of the basic needs of the public. You should definitely download and check out the app.