Thailand hospitals use 'ninja robots' to fight coronavirus

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Hospitals in Thailand have begun using “ninja robots” to ease the burden on medical workers and doctors fighting to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The robots, which were originally built to monitor recovering stroke patients, have been repurposed to measure patients’ fevers, AFP reported.

In this photo taken on March 18, 2020 a robot modified to screen and observe COVID-19 coronavirus patients is photographed at the Regional Center of Robotics Technology at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. - Thai hospitals are deploying "ninja" robots to measure fevers and protect the health of overburdened medical workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP) (Photo by LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images)

In this photo taken on March 18, 2020 a robot modified to screen and observe COVID-19 coronavirus patients is photographed at the Regional Center of Robotics Technology at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. - Thai hospitals are deploying "ninja" robots to measure fevers and protect the health of overburdened medical workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP) (Photo by LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images)

The machines have, as of Thursday, been used at four hospitals in and around Bangkok, according to the outlet. Their use has reduced the risk of infection and allowed doctors to speak with coronavirus patients through video chat.

"They can stand outside the room and communicate with patients inside through the robot," said Viboon Sangveraphunsiri of Chulalongkorn University.

Sangveraphunsiri told AFP that other models are being designed to deliver food and medicine to patients, as well as disinfect hospitals.

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Sangveraphunsiri and his engineering team plan to build more “ninja robots” (named for their black exterior) for at least 10 other hospitals.

Thailand has had more than 270 cases and only one death from COVID-19, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

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The vast majority of infected people recover, and most have only mild or moderate symptoms. But some victims, especially older adults or people with other health problems, develop a serious illness.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.