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Robots to greet and clean at Tokyo hotels accommodating patients with mild COVID-19

A receptionist robot, left, and a cleaning robot are seen in a hotel that accommodates coronavirus patients with mild or no symptoms in the city of Hachioji, Tokyo on April 30, 2020. (Mainichi/Kota Yoshida)

TOKYO -- The Tokyo Metropolitan Government on April 30 unveiled a cleaning robot and other droids to be stationed at hotels set to temporarily accommodate patients with mild or no symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

The robots will be used from May 1 at two hotels which have been rented by the metropolitan government to prevent the further spread of infections.

The robots revealed to the press included a cleaning robot and a receptionist robot, the latter of which greets patients as they enter or exit the building. They were dispatched to "the b hachioji," a hotel in the suburban Tokyo city of Hachioji. The facilities have established a rule that patients stay in their rooms as much as possible and pick up their own boxed lunches in the lobby to prevent nurses dispatched to the hotels from being infected. The other three hotels in Tokyo that have already started to accept patients have not cleaned their lobbies regularly due to infection risks. The two new locations will be able to clean their lobbies using the cleaning robots, which are operated with artificial intelligence.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has currently secured five hotel locations to help ease the growing strain on the health care system, which sees a lack of hospital beds. As of April 28, the number of infected people who remained home as they presented with mild or no symptoms was 635, according to an announcement made by the metropolitan government on April 30. The government asks such individuals to temporarily stay at the hotels as a measure to prevent the spread of infection.

(Japanese original by Toru Watanabe, City News Department, and Ryotaro Ikawa, Tokyo Bureau)

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