Japan unveils robots in hotels for virus patients

BANGKOK: Robot staff debuted at a Tokyo hotel used for patients with minor illnesses under a new plan to free beds in hospitals overloaded with more serious cases.

Pepper, a talking robot, greets new guests in the lobby, while Whiz, a cleaning robot, operates in areas where patients collect food and other daily necessities to reduce infection risks for human staff. Pepper, wearing a white surgical mask, greeted the Governor of Tokyo. Yuriko Koike as he entered the hotel during the demonstration on Friday. Also remind patients to monitor their temperature and rest well.

Guests can also access health management applications on computers and tablets to record their temperatures and. The robots, manufactured by SoftBank Robotics, will also be deployed at other hotels rented by the Tokyo metropolitan government for patients with no or mild symptoms. So far, Tokyo has insured five hotels and its goal is to increase the number of rooms from the current 1,500 to 2,800.

The hotels are also staffed by doctors and nurses, but authorities hope the robots can brighten up a lonely time for isolated guests in single rooms for their week-long stay. It has 14,281 confirmed cases, with 432 deaths, according to the health ministry.