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Singapore coronavirus patients to have their meals, medicine delivered by robot

Jack Burton

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Singapore coronavirus patients to have their meals, medicine delivered by robot | Thaiger

Patients at a Singapore hospital suspected or confirmed to be infected with the Covid-19 coronavirus will soon get their meals and medicines from a robot. What’s more, a second robot is being deployed to clean, and will chat with patients in four languages, as well as “Singlish.”

Details of the use of the robot technology were outlined in Singapore’s Ministry of Health’s (MOH) Committee of Supply debate today. By the end of March, a robot called BeamPro will make its rounds in the hospital’s two isolation wards, a hospital spokesperson said yesterday.

Singapore’s Alexandra Hospital currently has only one confirmed case of Covid-19, which the MOH identified as Case 74, who remains in stable condition after being admitted on February 15. Another 14 suspected cases are in isolation, a hospital spokesperson told a media briefing on yesterday.

BeamPro was housed at the hospital’s Centre for Innovation in Healthcare for more than three months before the coronavirus outbreak, but trials began just two weeks ago. BeamPro makes it possible for patients to be inspected remotely while remaining isolated. said Dr Alexander Yip, Clinical Director of Health Technology at Alexandra Hospital, told the briefing:

“The Covid-19 situation is an opportunity for us to accelerate healthcare transformation. With Covid-19 there was a great opportunity to launch the telepresence robot.”

“The main aim of this telepresence robot is to reduce the unnecessary risk of exposure to healthcare workers by allowing us to move the robot into the room instead.”

Once the robot enters the room, doctors and nurses are able to see the patient via a camera on the robot. The patient, likewise, will see the healthcare professional controlling the robot’s movements via a large screen on the robot.

“We can use BeamPro to ask very basic, simple questions. We take their history and see what we need to find out. And from there, we make the decision as to whether we need to put on the full PPE and go in to examine the patient further. This is always based on the physician’s best judgment.”

BeamPro can be affixed with trays so that it can deliver medications and food, and will also be used for other contagious infections like chicken pox and measles.

A second robot, LionsBot, is being deployed for sweeping, mopping, vacuuming and scrubbing at the hospital, according to a media release issued by the hospital today.

“LionsBot robots are social minglers that bring joy and delight, to engage, entertain, even exchange a simple conversation, in four languages, as well as Singlish.”

In another innovative use of technology, on Feb 20, the hospital also started vCare, a virtual consultation service, conducting virtual consultations for patients via the Zoom platform.

“When patients who are isolated get discharged we always advise [them] to stay at home. And so this is where we leverage our efforts in telemedicine to be able to communicate with these patients at home, in the safety of their home without bringing them back into the hospital or into the community during this period.”

SOURCE: TODAY

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: Daily infection number drops slightly on Tuesday

Tim Newton

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Covid UPDATE: Daily infection number drops slightly on Tuesday | Thaiger

965 people have been detected as infected with Covid-19 in the past 24 hours. The daily total is the first drop in daily numbers for 13 days. 28,288 people have fully recovered. The total deaths remains at 97 people since the start of the pandemic in Thailand. 6,190 people remain under hospital care or are being monitored.

654 of today’s cases are local community infections.

Out of today’s infections, the CCSA announced that most were in the northern city of Chiang Mai (251) which has been hit particularly hard, followed by Bangkok (194), Chonburi (97), Prachuap Khiri Khan (73), Nakhon Ratchasima (67), Samut Prakan (49), Samut Sakhon (34), Rayong (25) and Pathum Thani (21). 8 new infections were officially reported in Phuket by the CCSA.

Regarding vaccinations, 578,532 people have now been vaccinated. Yesterday, 6,424 people received their first injection, 2,056 received their second Covid vaccine.

There’s now a total of 34,575 people who have now been infected with the coronavirus in Thailand.

Covid UPDATE: Daily infection number drops slightly on Tuesday | News by Thaiger

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WHO says pandemic reaching critical levels in South Asia

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WHO says pandemic reaching critical levels in South Asia | Thaiger
Stock photo via World Bank Blogs

Despite vaccines being rolled out, the WHO is warning that the Covid-19 pandemic has reached a “critical level” in South Asia as infections keep rising. The virus has already taken 2.9 million lives, infecting 136 million worldwide and the WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19, Maria Van Kerkhove, says the “trajectory of this pandemic is growing…exponentially.”

“This is not the situation we want to be in 16 months into a pandemic when we have proven control measures. We are at a critical point of the pandemic right now.”

The US is still the country with the most amount of infections, but India has recently taken the number 2 spot over Brazil, reporting 168,000 new cases in 1 day. India’s total amount of infections is now at 13.5 million, edging Brazil’s 13.48 million into the number 3 spot.

But a race among nations for Covid infections is not what the WHO – or anyone for that matter – is wanting. 28 year old Rohit, a waiter in Mumbai, seems to say that the race won’t end if people continue to not listen to safety protocols.

“The solution is for everyone to stay home for two months and end this (pandemic) once and for all. But the public doesn’t listen. Nobody follows the rules in the restaurant… If we tell customers to wear masks, they are rude and disrespectful to us.”

Ignoring the social – distancing rules has experts up in arms as they warn that huge, mass gatherings are what we all thought they were: a super spreader event for Covid-19.

But the Indian government appears desperate to avoid a repeat of last year’s nationwide March shutdown which saw some of the world’s toughest measures causing misery all around. Thus, the balance between managing a country’s overall health and financial situation is a tedious one.

Bangladesh has chosen health, for now, as it is shuttering both international and domestic airports from tomorrow. Its population of 160 million people, will be sealed off from the rest of the world.

And, in Thailand, a 3rd wave has hit, making plans for a full reopening by October, seem to be in vain. Social distancing and mass gatherings are, again, to blame, as entertainment venues sparked the recent spread. As normally tourism-heavy destinations, like the Andaman island of Phuket, are rapidly inoculating its residents to prepare for a July reopening, the new wave has dampened hopes of reviving the economy.

For now, the efforts to contain the Covid pandemic have been futile worldwide, but history has a habit of repeating itself, especially when safety protocols fall on deaf ears.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Off to a field hospital? Here’s what to pack

Maya Taylor

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Off to a field hospital? Here’s what to pack | Thaiger
PHOTO: Marco Verch / Flickr

A Thai netizen has posted a useful list of “must pack” items for anyone being admitted to a field hospital for Covid-19 treatment. As concerns rise that the rapid rise in infections may lead to a shortage of hospital beds, officials are planning a number of field hospitals, some of which have already opened. A total of 10 field hospitals are planned for Bangkok, while a field hospital in Phuket, closed after discharging its last patient in May 2020, is now set to re-open.

With all that in mind, Nation Thailand reports that Facebook user Ratchasee Jitasa recommends 12 items patients should stick in their bag if being admitted to a field hospital. To be fair, most of these items would come in pretty useful in a regular hospital too:

1. Power strip
2. Personal items, such as toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, towel, and hairdryer
3. Power bank
4. Wet wipes
5. Items to help relieve loneliness (??)
6. Pillow, blanket, and mattress
7. Eye mask
8. Food supplements, such as Vitamin C
9. Thermos bottle
10. Snacks
11. A set of clothes for when you’re discharged
12. A 14-day supply of underwear

Ratchasee also has some words of comfort for those worried about the whole field hospital “experience”.

“Staying at the field hospital is not as scary as everyone thinks, but some facilities may not meet the people’s demands.”

Thailand has a policy of mandatory hospitalisation for anyone who tests positive for Covid-19, even if asymptomatic or with only mild symptoms. Officials say they have no plans to change this, despite concerns about hospital bed shortages, insisting the policy enables them to control the spread of the virus more effectively than relying on people to self-isolate.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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