As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across sub-Saharan Africa, Rwanda has deployed five state-of-the-art humanoid robots to aid its efforts against the virus.
The robots, which were unveiled at a public ceremony on Tuesday, are designed to limit the exposure healthcare workers get to virus cases, according to Rwandan minister of health Dr Daniel Ngamije. Officials said that the robots could deliver food and medication and screen the temperatures of 50 to 150 people per minute.
They are also able to screen people to see if they are wearing masks or not. If not, they can warn people they need to wear one.
The robots were developed by Zora Bots, a Belgium company and cost about £2,700, according to local media. They have each been given Rwandan names — Mwiza, Ikizere, Akazuba, Urumuri and Ngabo.
Dr Ngamije said that it will take staff at the ministry of health about a month to be trained how to operate them.
“We need additional robots for other duties like disinfection in public space, and we are working to get them,” he said.
The news comes as coronavirus continues to spread through Africa. So far the continent has recorded over 88,000 cases according to the African Centre for Disease Control in Addis Ababa.
However, experts at the World Health Organisation say that because of low testing, the real number of coronavirus cases in Africa is almost certainly far higher. Rwanda — which officials like to tout as the ‘Singapore of Africa’ — has officially recorded 308 cases of coronavirus and no deaths. However, the response of Rwanda’s authoritarian government to the pandemic has not been without controversy.
Last month, Human Rights Watch (HRW), a rights group based in New York, said that they were concerned at mounting reports of abuses by the Rwandan security services during the country’s severe lockdown.
Several Rwandan women alleged that they were raped by police officers who were meant to be enforcing the lockdown. HRW said that the authorities had arrested independent bloggers who tried to report on the abuses.
Source: The Telegraph