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Malaysians invent robot nurses to help protect health workers from coronavirus exposure

In March, Malaysia said at least 80 healthcare workers were infected with coronavirus [AFP]

Date of publication: 14 April, 2020

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Robots inspired by China's bot medics will help Malaysia's medical staff keep a safe distance from coronavirus patients.

A robot created by Malaysian scientists will conduct check-ups on coronavirus patients at hospitals in the country, to reduce health workers' risk of exposure, reports said.

The "MediBot," created by the International Islamic University (UIA)’s Centre for Unmanned Technologies, is equipped with cameras that can screen temperatures, lessening the need for health workers to come into close contact with contagious patients.

In its advice to limit transmission risks, the World Health Organisation warns to keep a distance of at least a metre (three feet) from people coughing or sneezing.

Read also: Malaysia is selling 'halal' hand sanitiser to combat coronavirus - and it does not work

The robot, which stands at 1.5 metres, can also communicate remotely with medical professionals and will be tested in trials at the university’s hospital before being deployed to treat patients.

According to Lowyat, a Malaysia-based technology magazine, another robot which has the ability to carry up to 300kg in its shelves - created by the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia in cooperation with a robotics company and a hospital - can potentially deliver food and medicine to Covid-19 patients.

Malaysia confirmed its first case in January and has since recorded a total of 4683 infections, and 76 deaths resulting from Covid-19, based on the latest figures released by the WHO.

The recent news came a month after a report in a local fintech website suggested the country could learn from China's use of AI in grappling with Covid-19.

In March, a robot-operated field hospital – with the capacity of 20,000 patients – opened in China's Wuhan, where the outbreak was first spotted.


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