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Robots deployed to raise the COVID-19 fighting in Kenya

Reuters, Kenya

At Nairobi's main international airport, the three shiny white robots, built in China and donated by Japan and the United Nations Development Programme, have been put to work. Just over two weeks ago, Jasiri, Shujaa, and Tumaini just landed in Kenya, but they are already playing an important role in curbing the country's coronavirus epidemic spread.

The three shiny white robots, built in China and donated by Japan and the United Nations Development Programme, were put to work at the main international airport in Nairobi, keeping it disinfected and recording the arrival of virus signs.

An anti-pandemic robot named Jasiri, disinfects the passenger arrivals area, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya February 12, 2021. REUTERS/Monicah Mwangi(REUTERS)

He sprays fine sanitizer jets from containers attached to his sides, and takes infrared photographs with a camera mounted on an extendable neck while scanning hundreds of passengers every minute, as Jasiri - a Swahili word meaning 'brave' - does his rounds.

He takes their temperatures, records their data for storage, and advises those not wearing masks to put them on in tone-flat English and those standing too close to others to maintain social distancing rules.

"Jasiri’s role in this airport is to enhance the safety of international travel," Simon-Peter Njoroge, airport operations manager, told Reuters."This is one more example of how the future is going to look. The future is going towards contactless travel, it's going towards automation, it's going towards a greater focus on health security. I see that as a powerful force for the enhancement of air travel."

Meanwhile, the trio is also helping to curb the spread of an outbreak in the East African nation that has so far killed nearly 1,800 and infected more than 100,000 - and saving passengers time on arrival formalities.

"There was a long queue but ...we have a system which can take more than one hundred people's temperature at the same time," said Major Pascal of Burundi. "That is good."

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