The new Coronavirus epidemic has claimed more than 3,300 lives and infected over 98,000 people around the world. In Singapore, a total of 117 people have tested positive for Covid-19 and the hospitals are now turning to technology to curb the spread of the virus in the country.

Singapore's Alexandra Hospital to soon employ robots

Alexandra Hospital in Singapore where patients suspected or confirmed to be infected with Coronavirus are receiving treatment, will soon employ robots to serve them their meals and medicines. There are also plans to deploy an additional robot to clean and converse with patients in four different languages, according to Today Online.

Coronavirus
Xinhua/IANS

Before the end of this month, the robots, called BeamPro and LionsBot, will start making its rounds in the hospital's two isolation wards, according to a hospital spokesperson. The usage of the robots was outlined in the Ministry of Health's (MOH) Committee of Supply debate on Thursday. Alexandra Hospital has only one confirmed case of Covid-19, who was admitted on February 15 and is currently in a stable condition. 14 other cases are in isolation at the hospital.

BeamPro to deliver meds, meals to infected patients

BeamPro arrived at the hospital's Centre for Innovation in Healthcare approximately three months before the Coronavirus outbreak, but trails for its use began just two weeks ago. The robot makes it possible for patients to be inspected and taken care of remotely while being isolated, the spokesperson said.

"The Covid-19 situation is an opportunity for us to accelerate healthcare transformation. With Covid-19 there was a great opportunity to launch the telepresence robot," said Dr Alexander Yip, Clinical Director of Health Technology at Alexandra Hospital, at the briefing. "The main aim of this telepresence robot is to reduce the unnecessary risk of exposure to healthcare workers by allowing us to move the robot into the room instead," he added.

BeamPro robot
BeamPro robot in use at the Alexandra Hospital in Singapore BeamPro

Once the robot enters the room, doctors and nurses will be able to see the patient through a camera placed on the robot and control the robot's movements using a computer. Likewise, the patient will also be able to see them through a large display on the robot.

The doctors can also use the robot to ask simple, basic questions to understand their condition and the physician then decides whether the staff needs to put on protective equipment or if the patient needs further examination. BeamPro robots can also be affixed with trays so that they can deliver medications and food to infected patients.

LionsBot to be used for cleaning, talking to patients

LionsBot
Lionsbot robot on display at an exhibition in Singapore LionsBot

The hospital will deploy LionsBot to carry out cleaning tasks like for sweeping, mopping, vacuuming and scrubbing, according to a press release issued by the hospital on Thursday. "LionsBot robots are social minglers that bring joy and delight, to engage, entertain, even exchange a simple conversation, in four languages, as well as Singlish," it added.