A medic takes swab samples from a man for Covid-19 testing at a collection centre at Hotel Pataliputra Ashoka in Patna.

The Bihar health department has developed ‘Sanjivan’, a mobile phone application (app) that facilitates coronavirus disease (Covid-19) test and also provides updated information put out by the state government about the raging viral outbreak.

The user-friendly app helps an individual to register for Covid-19 test, apply for self-quarantine at home and also gives elaborate details about nearest testing and Covid Care Centres, hospitals and availability of beds in those healthcare facilities.

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It also contains district-wise emergency helpline numbers, a chatbot option on FAQs (frequently asked questions), IEC (information education and counselling) material on SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease.

The app, which became operational on Saturday morning, has an option to requisition an ambulance.

It can be downloaded via the health department’s portal at http://health.bih.nic.in/31-07-2020/sanjivan.apk.

The department also has district helpline numbers for those who don’t have access to the mobile app.

The helpline numbers have a back-up of 10 available lines in case the primary number comes engaged because of congestion due to high volume of calls.

The department is also working towards providing the testing facility at an individual’s doorstep in collaboration with private laboratories.

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“We will fix rates for collecting swab samples from home in a bid to avoid crowding at test centres,” said Pratyaya Amrit, principal secretary, health, Bihar and the brain behind launching the app.

Amrit took charge of the health department on Tuesday (July 28) amid the state’s battle to fight the pandemic

The state government has capped Rs 2,500 as the maximum cost to conduct the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test at a private laboratory. While an additional Rs 300 is likely to be added for the collection of swab samples from home.

A user, who will register for the rapid antigen detection (RAD) test, will get a registration number and an OTP (one-time-password).

The user can then visit the nearest testing centre and share the OTP, which will substantially lessen the time that takes for the elaborate registration process.

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The test report will be available through an SMS (short message service) on the registered mobile number.

“We are building a module, where test result will be available on the app within the next couple of days,” said Amrit.

The app has done away with the concept of making a visit to the district magistrate’s (DM) office and stand in a queue to physically apply for self-quarantine at home.

The SMS on test result will also have another OTP, which will enable a user to apply for self-quarantine at home.

The app also allows a user to see the availability of beds in dedicated Covid-19 hospitals.

“Now, Covid-19 patients don’t need to run from pillar to post in search of hospital beds. We will closely monitor the availability of beds that will cause a lot of convenience for those suffering from the viral infection,” Amrit added.

Bihar, which has been drawing flak for the poor count of daily tests, conducted 22,742 tests on Friday, an 8,000 plus jump, following the change of guard in the health department earlier this week.

On Saturday, the daily test figure was 28,624, almost double since Amrit took charge, and it would be further ramped up to 30,000 in the coming week, officials said.

Bihar reported 50,987 Covid-19 cases, including 298 deaths, until Friday.

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