In the midst of the coronavirus epidemic, Spain does between 15,000 and 20,000 tests daily. But with a growing amount of cases, they are not enough. Carrying out as many tests as possible is key to stopping the outbreak from escalating. That’s why Spain is studying its options.
The government is now finalizing the purchase of four robots that will allow up to 80,000 more diagnostic tests per day. The robots will not only quadruple the number of tests done daily but also reduce the risk of exposure and infection of those that have to carry out the tests.
“A plan to automate tests through robots has been already designed, and Spain has committed to buying four robots that will allow us to execute 80,000 tests per day,” said Raquel Yotti, the head of the Madrid-based Health Institute Carlos III, at a press conference.
The Spanish government has so far provided no details on how the machines will work. As well as automatizing the process, the health authorities are working with Spanish firms to accelerate the manufacturing of tests, having already bought 640.000 from them that were distributed across the country.
When the robots are deployed, they will join a growing range of robots tackling the pandemic across the globe. When the US identified the first infected patient, professionals from the Everett Regional Medical Center (Washington) used a robot to communicate with him.
The device, developed by the company InTouch Health, has a screen, speakers, a microphone, and a stethoscope. In addition, it allows basic tests such as temperature measurement. In China, at the Guangdong Provincial People’s Hospital, robots have been used to open and close doors and take the elevator autonomously to deliver drugs to patients.
Outside of hospitals, there are also different examples. Chinese urbanization has used a drone with thermal cameras to measure the temperature of the neighbors without having to leave their homes. In some hotels in China, an autonomous robot called Peanut has been tasked with bringing food to quarantined people.
Spain surpassed China in the number of deaths from coronavirus, reaching 3,434 deaths, compared to 3,281 in the Asian country, according to figures from the Spanish Ministry of Health. New deaths from the pandemic in Spain were 738 in the last 24 hours, a new daily maximum.
The number of infected in the country reached 47,610 cases, with an increase of 20% compared to the previous day. In addition, there are 3,166 patients in intensive care units, 17.4% more. The country is currently under lockdown until April 11 to try to stop the spread of the virus.