Tokyo installs robots at two hotels to cheer coronavirus patients, reduce stress on nurses

The Tokyo metropolitan government has introduced on Friday robots to hotels in the capital where coronavirus patients with mild symptoms are staying.

Dubbed “Pepper”, a semi-humanoid robot dubbed and another autonomous vacuum cleaner robot known as “Whiz” will be taking up their posts in five hotels in Japan’s capital.

Both robots are manufactured by Japanese firm SoftBank Robotics.

Pepper is intended to cheer patients and boost morale. The robot reminds patients to check their temperature regularly and repeats phrases like “united in the fight against coronavirus.”

On April 17, the Tokyo metropolitan government decided to move coronavirus patients with mild symptoms into select hotels in the capital to relieve pressure on hospitals.

Each hotel is staffed by 15 to 20 city officials, in addition to one doctor and two to three nurses, who wear full protective gear when walking through the lobby, the corridors, and when checking in on each patient.

“Quarantine life in the hotel is very daunting for the patients. I hope the robot can cheer them up and help make their time in the hotel as comfortable as possible,” Tokyo metropolitan government spokesman Nasataka Tsuji said.

Tsuji also said that the lobby area had been designated as a “red zone” — an area with a high risk of infection – since coronavirus patients pass through it to take their daily meals.

“Having robots there will improve the safety for the staff who have to work in that area,” added Tsuji.

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