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China will use robot bartenders that serve cocktails in 90 seconds at Winter Olympics to prevent Covid infection

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  • At the media center for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, a robotic bartender will serve cocktails.
  • According to the South China Morning Post, the bot can shake and serve beverages in about 90 seconds.
  • The organizers hope to reduce the number of COVID-19 incidents within the games’ “closed loop.”

BEIJING – A new kind of snowball may greet journalists eager to unwind after a long day of coverage at this year’s Winter Olympics at the events’ media center.

According to the South China Morning Post, organizers of the Beijing 2022 Winter Games have outfitted the media center with a robot bartender capable of mixing and serving cocktails in roughly 90 seconds. According to the Post, guests can order their drinks simply scanning a code on their phone.

The installation coincides with efforts by organizers to reduce the possibility of COVID-19 spreading at the events. According to the Post, in addition to the robotic bartender, a restaurant catering to athletes and others working at the games will be run by robots.

As per report of Reuters, the robot bartender, who serves both alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails, sits behind a circular bar and beneath dozens of bottles dangling from the ceiling. The robot is shown in the video filling a cocktail shaker with one of the overhead bottles, adding ice, and mixing the contents before filtering the green liquid into a margarita-style cocktail glass.

A number of human bartenders will also be there to supervise and assist the bot’s work.

Meanwhile, the restaurant, which will be open only to Olympic workers, would include cuisine such as burgers and rice that will be produced and served by robots, according to the Post. Orders are hoisted directly from the automated kitchen and dropped to tables using tracks that run along the ceiling.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, China has enforced a strong “zero Covid” policy, seeking to keep cases at bay through periodic local lockdowns, border closures, and quarantine procedures for international visitors. It used a similar approach to the games.

Athletes, media personnel, and Olympic staff will be separated from the ordinary domestic population in a “closed-loop” system. International spectators have been prevented from attending the games.

Per the International Olympic Committee, athletes and personnel must submit a negative test before boarding any flights heading for the games, again upon arrival at the airport, and a third time before entering the closed loop.

Dr. Brian McCloskey, chair of Beijing 2022’s medical expert panel, stated earlier this week at a remote technical briefing that the “three levels of testing” aimed to screen out any potential positive cases at every stage and decrease the number of illnesses that enter the closed loop.

“The target is zero spread within the closed loop, and the closed loop is there because that’s what protects the people of China by keeping the domestic population separate from the participants coming in from around the world,” Dr. McCloskey said.

Athletes and staff will also be subjected to PCR tests on a regular basis during the games, which will take place between February 4 and February 20.

According to the International Olympic Committee, pre-Games testing has shown that the system in place is “operating successful.” As of January 23, just 39 of the 2,586 tests conducted at Beijing airport since January 4 had returned a positive result. A total of 33 good outcomes out of 336,421 tests have been reported within the closed loop.

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