Coronavirus hospital ward staffed by robots opens in Wuhan to protect medics

A coronavirus hospital ward staffed by robots to protect medics from the deadly bug has opened in Wuhan.

The program, launched Saturday at the Wuchang field hospital, will see the 5G-powered bots carry out tasks including taking patients’ temperatures, delivering meals and disinfecting the facility. It will also enable doctors to read patients’ vitals remotely, reducing their exposure to the virus.

Over 3,000 medics have been infected across Hubei province since the coronavirus first appeared in the capital Wuhan in mid-December. The virus, which has been traced to a food market in the city, has now infected more than 80,000 people in mainland China and more than 113,000 worldwide. The Chinese government has faced criticism for initially trying to cover up the situation, but later locked down more than 10 cities and built numerous quarantine facilities as part of efforts to contain it.

The project at Wuchang hospital resulted from a collaboration between Hubei officials and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Twelve sets of the androids were donated by artificial intelligence tech company CloudMinds, and around 200 patients showing early coronavirus symptoms were taken for quarantine on the ward on March 7.

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