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Thai hospitals roll out ninja robots to help combat Covid-19

Image Credits: The Jakarta Post, Article

Thai hospitals are deploying “ninja robots” to measure fevers and protect the health of overburdened medical workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak.

First built to monitor recovering stroke patients, the machines have been quickly repurposed to help fight the disease, which has so far killed nearly 9,000 people around the world.

They have helped staff at four hospitals in and around Bangkok to reduce their risk of infection by allowing doctors and nurses to speak to patients over a video link.

They can stand outside the room and communicate with patients inside through the robot, an engineer from Chulalongkorn University stated.

Later models will be designed to bring food and medicine to patients and could also eventually be used to disinfect hospital wards.

His engineering team is racing to build more “ninjas” – known as such because of their matte black exterior — for another 10 hospitals around the country.

Thailand has more than 200 confirmed COVID-19 infections, including at least one death. More than 40 have recovered and been discharged from hospital.

Authorities recently ordered the closure of bars, massage parlours and entertainment venues to help prevent new cases.

New rules also require visitors entering the country to produce a health certificate.

Officials have so far stopped short of imposing the full lockdowns seen in other countries in a bid to contain damage to Thailand’s crucial tourism sector.

But the government’s reassurances that the pandemic is under control have not stopped bouts of panic buying in grocery stores.

Doctors are also urging Thais to stay home to curb the spread of the virus.

COVID-19 prompts surge in digital adoption in Thailand

Video conferencing, risk management, cloud services and digital transformation have drawn interest by corporates in the wake of coronavirus outbreak, one business consultancy notes, OpenGov Asia reported.

The firm sees no evidence that its customers, particularly in banking and retail, are putting less emphasis on technology or digital transformation projects, the firm’s Managing Director the firm’s Thailand branch stated.

During this crisis, businesses attach more importance to digital technology, which will be increasingly adopted, he said.

Collaboration tools and video conference meetings should be more common for work as they reduce travel and facilitate working from home.

Business continuity planning and risk management should become priorities. For example, skilled workers should not be clustered together to stop the spread of the disease among employees.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is important to gain insight into customer needs and helps reduce physical interaction during the epidemic. AI can also improve the digital customer experience and help companies understand behaviour changes.

Businesses are likely to give more weight to data privacy and cybersecurity as the Personal Data Protection Act is due to be fully enforced in May.

One of the factors behind the increase in mobile internet usage is the outbreak of the Covid-19, which has made people avoid outdoor visits to shop and switch to online shopping instead. Furthermore, the virus situation has urged people to look for information and updates online more frequently.

In addition, in February 2020, people used significantly more mobile data per day compared to the previous month.

In January the average data usage per person stood at 136.6 megabytes per day, but in February the number jumped 88.2 per cent to 257.06 megabytes per day.

This huge increase in such a short period signals the need for a faster network, therefore operators must push the 5G system into the market as soon as possible to cope with customers’ demand.

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