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Hygiene-obsessed Singapore deploys robots to keep coronavirus away

Labor shortage caused by pandemic drives tech cleaning market

The novel coronavirus has increased demand for cleaning robots. (Photo by Mayuko Tani)

SINGAPORE -- With the spread of the coronavirus making it even more imperative to maintain public facilities spotless, Singapore is turning to robots to get the job done as the pandemic sends home foreign workers who have traditionally filled that role.

At the city state's Alexandra Hospital this month, a sleek robot quietly glided through the halls while scrubbing the floor. Called "Ella," the smart bot cleans hallways and can stop when someone approaches from the opposite direction.

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