Thailand testing robots, creating apps for COVID-19 monitoring

Thailand is marshaling its technological prowess in the campaign against the COVID-19 pandemic, testing locally built 5G-driven robots at three hospitals to monitor and care for patients, while government agencies and entrepreneurs are working on mobile apps for self-monitoring.

Government agencies said they would be able to release an app available in about two weeks that would help those under self-quarantine monitor their condition and symptoms, and alert public health authorities about any changes.

The app is named “VWatch” for Virus Watch. The National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), the Digital Government Development Agency (DGA), and the Department of Disease Control (DDC) jointly developed the program.

“If those under quarantine report they have a fever and other risky symptoms, they will be picked up and sent to the hospital quickly,” said Narong Sirilertworakul, President of NSTDA.

The agency is also making high-performance computing resources available to research hospitals and the startup community. The resources include free access for Covid-19 data assessment. The NSTDA also plans to offer machine learning tools for health research institutes conducting scans of patients’ lungs.

Panachit Kittipanya-ngam, President of Thailand Tech Startup Association (TTSA), said services from startups, including a telehealth consulting platform, medicine delivery, and food delivery, could help at-risk groups stay at home.

Chulalongkorn University, meanwhile, has provided several robots to three Bangkok hospitals to help monitor and care for coronavirus patients. Advanced Info Services, and telecoms providers, provided 5G technology to the university-built robots.

The robots free up doctors and nurses and help prevent them from being infected. The university is building more of the robots and will continue to provide them to hospitals.

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