Mask wearing robots greet COVID-19 patients in Japan hotels
Hotels in Japan’s Tokyo that have started housing coronavirus patients are using mask-wearing robots to greet the visitors.
Named “Pepper”, it tells the patients, “Please wear a mask inside”, and, I hope you recover as quickly as possible”.
To ease the burden on nurses, Japan is using hotels to house COVID-19 patients whose symptoms are too light to need hospitalization.
A cleaning robot also operates in areas where patients pick up meals and other daily necessities to reduce infection risks for human staff.
The robots, made by Softbank Robotics, will also be deployed at other hotels rented by Tokyo’s metropolitan government for patients with no or mild symptoms. So far, Tokyo has secured five hotels and aims to increase the number of rooms from the current 1,500 to 2,800.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday stated that the coronavirus state of emergency that is supposed to end next week will have to be kept in place for roughly for another month.
Abe, citing a report by experts on a government task force, said that Japanese medical systems are still under severe pressure with the number of confirmed cases for exceeding 10,000, even though Japan has averted explosive infections as in many countries, and the spread of the infections has somewhat slowed under the ongoing state of emergency.
“We still need you to continue cooperating, and that’s the expert view”, Abe said. He said he instructed Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is tasked with the coronavirus measures, to urgently prepare to extend the measures “for about a month”.