After successfully deploying drones to enforce a lockdown and curb the spread of the coronavirus, Rwanda has now enlisted the help of five robots.
The small African nation that’s been at the forefront of technology adoption on the continent will use the Belgium-made robots at a Covid-19 treatment center to test patients’ temperatures and to alert security when people don’t wear masks.
“I have been so resourceful in countries like South Korea, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium and China, where coronavirus started,” one of the robots, known as Zorabots, told assembled medical staff at the Kanyinya facility in the capital, Kigali. “I look forward to do the same in Rwanda. Together we shall prevail.”
The robots can also deliver food and other supplies to patients, thereby minimizing contact between patients and medical staff, according to the director general of the Rwanda Biomedical Center, Sabin Nsanzimana.
Rwanda was among the first countries in African to introduce a smart-card system for city buses and deploy drones for the delivery of medicine. Today, drones equipped with loudspeakers fly above city streets to broadcast virus-fighting measures, a strategy pioneered by China and used from India to the U.K.
The Zorabots are made by a Belgian company with the same name that supplies a range of models with names such as Mario and Pepper for the retail and accommodation industries. The medical robot is based on the Nao robot, originally designed by Japan’s Softbank Robotics.
Rwanda has 308 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with no deaths recorded so far.