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Coronavirus hospital ward staffed by robots opens in Wuhan to protect medics



A coronavirus hospital ward staffed by robots to protect medics from the deadly bug has opened in Wuhan.

The program, launched Saturday at the Wuchang field hospital, will see the 5G-powered bots carry out tasks including taking patients’ temperatures, delivering meals and disinfecting the facility.

It will also enable doctors to read patients’ vitals remotely, reducing their exposure to the virus.

Over 3,000 medics have been infected across Hubei province since the coronavirus first appeared in capital Wuhan in mid-December.

The virus, which has been traced to a food market in the city, has now infected more than 80,000 people in mainland China and more than 113,000 worldwide.

The Chinese government has faced criticism for initially trying to cover up the situation, but later locked down more than 10 cities and built numerous quarantine facilities as part of efforts to contain it.

The project at Wuchang hospital resulted from a collaboration between Hubei officials and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Twelve sets of the androids were donated by artificial intelligence tech company CloudMinds, and around 200 patients showing early coronavirus symptoms were taken for quarantine on the ward on March 7.

Pictures showed one robot showing off its human-like movement by leading hazmat-clad hospital staff in a dance routine.

Quarantine patients could also be shown snapping pictures of the bots.

As well as helping doctors, the robots will be used to gather old bedsheets and to dispose of medical waste.

They are also able to use navigation technology to move around and avoid obstacles automatically.

The images come as countries around the world ramp up measures to tackle the coronavirus.

The weekend saw authorities in Italy lock down the province of Lombardy, which includes tourism and financial hub Milan, and numerous small areas around the north of the country.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also declared a state of emergency after more than 100 cases were confirmed across the state.

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