Rwanda deploys humanoid robots to fight COVID-19

Rwanda recently deployed five state-of-the-art humanoid robots to aid in its efforts against the coronavirus.

According to The Telegraph, the robots, named Mwiza, Ikizere, Akazuba, Urumuri and Ngabo, were unveiled at a public ceremony in May 2020.

They were reportedly designed to limit the exposure healthcare workers get to virus cases, according to Rwandan Minister of Health Dr Daniel Ngamije. Officials said that the robots could deliver food and medication and screen the temperatures of 50 to 150 people per minute.

They are also able to screen people to see if they are wearing masks or not. If not, they can warn people they need to wear one.

State-of-the-art humanoid robots deployed in Rwanda

It's said that the robots were developed by Zora Bots, a Belgium company and are the result of joint efforts by the Rwandan Ministry of ICT and Innovation and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 

"The infectious nature of COVID-19 calls for technological innovations to tackle the pandemic. This is why Rwanda has introduced robots and drones among other high-tech initiatives to enhance efficiency in the fight," ICT and Innovation Minister Paula Ingabire said.

UNDP representative Stephen Rodriques said the project marks the "beginning of a great collaboration […] that's part of a broader partnership" with the East African country. 

While it will reportedly take staff at the ministry of health about a month to be trained how to operate them, they are looking at more robots to aid in the fight against the pandemic.

"We need additional robots for other duties like disinfection in public space, and we are working to get them," Ngamije said during the launch. 

Recent statistics

Rwanda, a major innovation and technology hub in Africa, has recorded 308 coronavirus cases so far, with zero deaths and 209 recoveries, according to official figures. To date, more than 52 300 tests have been carried out in the country of over 12 million.