China’s efforts to combat Covid-19 using drones and robot technology is “right and effecrtive,” says British aviation expert Michael Walsh, China Daily reported.
Walsh, CEO of Pacific Basin Economic Council, a nonprofit organization that advocates responsible tech progress to fuel economic growth, said the massive suspension of economic and social activities, as well as the lockdown of some cities on the Chinese mainland, at the expense of economic growth and personal convenience, has shown the steely resolve of Beijing in fighting the pathogen.
“The numbers speak for themselves — they’ve made the right decision,” he said, citing noticeable declines in the numbers of new infections outside Hubei province in the past few days, the report said.
In a video interview with China Daily, Walsh, who is also a former chief commercial officer with Hong Kong Jet, pointed out it’s not easy to make timely decisions in the midst of such a public health crisis, the report said.
The deployment of cutting-edge technologies, including drones and robotics, in the battle against the epidemic has been very opportune, he said.
The “contactless deliveries” by drones and robots have helped immensely in distributing urgent medical supplies and daily necessities in Wuhan and other cities in Hubei — the epicenter of the outbreak — where stringent road traffic restrictions have been enforced to curb the spread of the deadly virus, the report said.
Wuhan’s first designated hospital for Covid-19 patients, Jinyintan Hospital, welcomed its first drone on Feb 12 that carried anti-epidemic resources to front-line medical workers. The drone made 20 trips, distributing 70 kg of medical supplies on that day, the report said.
Besides logistics, medical robots, empowered by 5G technology and big data, are also being used in some hospitals in Wuhan for distant diagnosis and disinfecting facilities, the report said.
The aim is to protect front-line doctors and nurses, who Walsh described as “true heroes serving their profession and country in the face of adversity,” from being infected and to reduce their workload.
Such a public health emergency has taught the world how effective technologies can be in offering humanitarian relief, he said.
Walsh cited China’s home-grown brands, including SF Express, JD and DJI, which have deployed their latest technologies to ensure prompt deliveries of medical supplies and protect residents in Hubei from the contagion, the report said.
Walsh, who has been living in Hong Kong for 13 years, returned to the SAR earlier this month from a business trip to Europe, with loads of masks and sanitizers, and found the city in a state of panic amid the outbreak.
“My life has been greatly affected. The epidemic is putting a major strain on family life and marriage as the novelty of having time together wears off. Stress levels are being heightened with economic pressures to come still,” said Walsh, a father of two children.