In Egypt, the COVID-19 virus is up against a nurse it can’t infect: a robot named Cira-03.

As the North African nation is in the throws of a second pandemic wave, with almost 200,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, Cira-03 traverses the hallways of a private hospital in the city of Tanta, testing patients for the virus so its human coworkers don’t have to risk infection. 

The remote-controlled bot has a human-looking face designed to make patients feel comfortable and can perform a number of medical tasks, including taking temperatures, blood tests, x-rays, echocardiograms, and displaying test results to patients on a screen strapped to its torso. He can also see if someone isn’t wearing a mask and will promptly remind them to do so.

Cira-03 was invented by mechatronics engineer Mahmoud el-Komy and comes equipped with an artificial intelligence system that is capable of learning much the same way we humans do. 

“Before starting its mission, the robot receives training to improve its AI,” the engineer told Africa News. “The training is done by a specialist doctor, the AI in this training acts like a human doctor.”

He added that Cira-03 is “specially designed” to help out medical staff during the pandemic.

“It is a medical robot capable of multi-tasks, it can deal with patients in their beds, chest scans, fever screening, and face mask detection,” el-Komy said.

Robots are helping people in Africa stay safe in more than just hospitals. In South Africa, Sky Hotel in Johannesburg has employed three robotic concierges to help protect hotel staff and guests during the ongoing outbreak. 

Ariel, Micah, and Lexi provide room service and travel information and can carry luggage as heavy as 300kg from the lobby to guest rooms. The bots, designed by CTRL Robotics, can also read faces and can tell whether hotel guests are happy. 

“I think that it is the future,” Paul Kelly, the hotel’s managing director, told ReutersRead other blogs on robotics with IEEE TryEngineering.