Cleaning robot to help to tackle Covid as part of EU plan

Cleaning robot to help to tackle Covid as part of EU plan

The European Commission is set to fund the provision of a Covid-19 cleaning robot to 31 hospitals across the EU, including Cork University Hospital, under the Emergency Support Instrument (ESI). Picture: Dan Linehan

A COVID-19 cleaning robot funded by the European Commission will be provided to Cork University Hospital (CUH) as part of an EU-wide plan to contain the spread of Covid-19 in hospitals across Europe.

The European Commission is set to fund the provision of a Covid-19 cleaning robot to 31 hospitals across the EU, including CUH, under the Emergency Support Instrument (ESI) which makes available a total of €12 million to ‘provide useful and necessary equipment to Member States in aid of tackling the pandemic.’

The robots, manufactured by the Danish company UVD Robots, are capable of disinfecting a standard size patient room in 10 minutes and over 18 rooms in one charge with ultraviolet light to ensure a sterile hospital environment. This cleaning process can be done by hospital and cleaning staff remotely through a mobile application. 

In turn, the exposure of staff to the chemical disinfectants and to the risk of contracting coronavirus is minimised. The robot also allows the cleaning of hospital areas that may be more difficult to disinfect thoroughly such as hallways, lobbies and door handles.

CUH one of the first to benefit 

CUH is set to be one of the first in the country to receive the EU-funded robot, with Ireland being one of 12 EU Member States including Belgium, Germany and Spain who have applied for additional such cleansing instruments under the EU’s ESI scheme.

Tim Hayes, of the European Commission’s Representation in Ireland office, has said that the robot puts Cork University Hospital at the ‘forefront’ in Europe in tackling the virus.

The European Commission’s Vice-President Margrethe Vestager has also welcomed the initiative highlighting that “developing technologies can set up forces of change and we see a good example of this in the disinfection robots”.

As the European Commission coordinates a common EU response to Covid-19, the further funding of medical equipment for hospitals remains a key feature of the EU’s effort to protect citizens and reduce the widespread impact of coronavirus on European society.

Other actions taken by the European Commission include increasing the funding of face-mask production, the repatriation of EU citizens abroad as well as ensuring the successful transportation of medical equipment within the EU’s Single Market.

Recovery plan

The toll Covid-19 has taken on the economy, society and citizens of all 27 European Member States has prompted the Commission to design and implement a recovery plan, under the ‘ NextGenerationEU’.

‘NextGenerationEU’ is the largest stimulus package ever to be financed by the EU’s long-term budget, as it is worth €750 billion and is intended to assist in rebuilding the post-Covid-19 European economy. It provides Member States, such as Ireland, with funds to encounter the several socio-economic challenges of the pandemic, while supporting their economies in becoming more resilient and to make the ‘green and digital transitions’ for the future.

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Called Droid, our next story is about a boy who designs a robot at UCC and chaos ensues. It was written by Margaret Gillies, from the MA in Creative Writing Programme at UCC.

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