COVID-19: How technology played a role in Agra’s acclaimed cluster containment strategy
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare appreciated Agra’s containment strategy and also shared it with other states to be adopted as a best practice. A suite of technology tools have played a decisive role in the success of the strategy
Express Computer has been doing comprehensive coverage of how state Governments and smart cities are tackling the COVID-19 pandemic by using digital tools and other technologies. In today’s edition, we cover smart city Agra.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare appreciated Agra’s containment strategy and also shared it with other states to be adopted as a best practice. A suite of technology tools have played a decisive role in the success of the strategy, wherein in the initial phases, the positive case doubling rate was five days, now it has increased to nine days. The number of daily cases have also been reduced, almost in single digits, daily.
Under the smart cities mission, the Agra Smart city (ASC) has established an Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC), which has now been converted into a COVID-19 war room. All the district activities, including district and medical control room, grocery delivery help desk, etc are now steered from the ICCC. Agra has taken a slew of initiatives to successfully contain the pandemic.
Lockdown monitoring app
Lockdown violation has been one of the highlights of the COVID-19 pandemic across the country. A unique initiative to address this issue has been the lockdown monitoring app. ASC has deployed over 600 cameras across the city. The app runs AI enabled video analytics and sends alerts to the nearest police station on violation of lockdown when a mass gathering is identified and when people are found to be flouting social distancing norms. Every head of the 15 police stations in Agra has downloaded this app. He gets an alert with the time, photograph and the location of the violation. “The app has been functioning since the last 15 days and over 7247 alerts have been generated,” says Arun Prakash, Chief Executive Officer, Agra Smart City SPV and Municipal Commissioner, Agra Municipal Corporation.
The Superintendent of Police, Traffic sitting at the ICCC was able to get a bird’s eye view of the lockdown discipline followed, heat maps of violations. Thus, the necessary deployments and efforts were exerted only where it was needed. The deployments were made dynamically based on heat maps.
ASC has provided the APK files to other cities in UP having a wide CCTV infrastructure, for them to use it for lockdown monitoring.
Sarvam setu app
This is a unique initiative for the citizens in any kind of distress. As soon as the SOS button on the mobile of the citizen in distress is pressed, any of the civil defence staff, within a certain radius, who are already serving the needy, either regulating traffic, feeding the needy, etc will be alerted. They will be rushed to action. There are over 600 such civil defence personnel operating currently in Agra.
Grocery information portal
In the efforts to make citizens adhere to the lockdown, ASC has ensured doorstep delivery of grocery, fruits, vegetables, etc., “We launched a grocery information portal on the website of ASC. Based on the GIS property survey and RFID tag installation, the information of the top five vendors of groceries, fruits and vegetables from all the 100 wards have been mapped on the portal. The citizens, by using the portal can click their ward number to order from the nearest vendors listed on the portal,” says Prakash. Zomato and Big Bazar are also partnering with ASC for doorstep delivery.
According to the latest data, the portal has got over 7000 clicks with close to ten thousand people have taken advantage of the services.
GIS based dashboards
Hotspot monitoring is a crucial aspect of the containment strategy. At the ICCC, a district dashboard has been created with ward-wise marking of hotspots. This helps the sanitisation and fogging teams to concentrate on the wards with high hotspot counts.
A GIS based COVID-Tracker dashboard has also been generated. It provides updated information on the number of positive, negative cases, patients recovered, daily case count, trends, age groups affected, etc. “It also has the number of quarantine centers, so in case somebody needs to quarantine himself, he can contact the nearest centre,” says Prakash.
The same dashboard will now be used for the state of UP.
Citizens can download the telemedicine app to do video consultations. This is unique in the sense that users can upload their medical history in the form of old reports, X-rays, ECG, etc. Post the consultation, the doctor’s signed prescription can be downloaded by the users. “We are planning to convert this into a regular service because we have been getting good usage. The app registered more than 50 appointments daily. The plan is also to add more doctors, beginning with the doctors empanelled under the AYUSH scheme,” says Prakash. As per the latest information, over 500 people have taken consultations using the service.
The Lucknow Municipal Corporation and Smart city has also adopted this app. Soon, it will be replicated in over fifteen cities in UP.
Smart health centres
The ASC has been running smart health centres under the smart city scheme. Citizens are being provided with face masks, sanitisers, at a subsidised price. Medicines from these centres can be home-delivered free of cost to the citizens. The doctors under the e-Doctor Seva app also come and sit at these centres.
Area of focus post lockdown
After the lockdown is over, the focus will be to continue to monitor the quarantined and positive cases; using analytics for identifying trends, wherever necessary. A major focus area will be to develop an integrated platform to create dashboards for the users of various departments, which can be made available on mobility devices to enable speedy decision making. The plan is to bring all the major departments – medical, sanitisation and fogging, civil defence, district magistrate, police, security surveillance, solid waste management, drain cleaning, online grocery, etc onto a single platform.
Post lockdown, social distancing will continue to remain important, thus the effort will be to digitise as many services as possible. To avoid citizens having to physically travel.