Keepers, animals keep each other company at Cairo’s shuttered zoo

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Giza Zoo keeper, Mohamed Aly touches the hand of a chimpanzee called ‘Jolia’ as she reaches through the cage bars after the zoo was closed to help prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt April 2, 2020. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
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Giza Zoo keeper, Mohamed Aly feeds a chimpanzee called ‘Koko’ after the zoo was closed to visitors to help prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt April 2, 2020. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
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Giza Zoo keeper, Mohamed Rizq feeds a bear called ‘Hany’ after the zoo was closed to visitors to help prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt April 2, 2020. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
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A Giza Zoo keeper stops to look in the lions cage as he walks through the zoo that is devoid of visitors after it was closed to help prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt April 2, 2020. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
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A zoo keeper walks away after feeding animals at the closed Giza Zoo, during the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt April 2, 2020. Picture taken April 2, 2020. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
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Giza Zoo keeper, Mohamed Aly touches the hand of a chimpanzee called ‘Dodo’ as he reaches from his cage after the zoo was closed to visitors to help prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt April 2, 2020. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
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A bear shakes off water as Giza Zoo keeper, Mohamed Rizq feeds it after the zoo was closed to visitors to help prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt April 2, 2020. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
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Giza Zoo keeper, Mohamed Rizq feeds a bear called 'Hany' after the zoo was closed to visitors to help prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt April 2, 2020. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
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Updated 03 April 2020

Keepers, animals keep each other company at Cairo’s shuttered zoo

  • The zoo in Giza, across the Nile from central Cairo, is one of the few green spaces in the usually bustling city of 23 million and is often crammed with families
  • Egypt, like other countries, is trying to curb the spread of coronavirus cases by restricting people’s movements

CAIRO: The chimpanzees, lions and hippos of Cairo’s zoo are getting a rare spell of peace and quiet alone with their keepers as a closure caused by the coronavirus outbreak keeps the public away.
The zoo in Giza, across the Nile from central Cairo, is one of the few green spaces in the usually bustling city of 23 million and is often crammed with families seeking diversion from the grind of daily life.
Now keepers do their rounds at the zoo along deserted pathways, feeding animals apples and bananas through the railings of their cages and bringing fresh hay to their enclosures.
Veteran keeper Mohamed Aly holds hands with 12-year-old chimpanzee Jolia in a gesture of friendship, while noting that keepers are careful about cleaning hands between rounds.
“I’ve been here about 25 years,” he said. “(I’ve spent) my whole life with them, they may not speak but they feel everything, and of course all of them are looking for people to play with.”
Egypt, like other countries, is trying to curb the spread of coronavirus cases by restricting people’s movements. It has imposed a night curfew and shut schools, mosques and tourist sites including the pyramids. It has so far confirmed more than 850 cases of the virus, including more than 50 deaths.
The zoo, which has been closed along with others in Egypt since March 18, is sprayed with disinfectant twice a week.


South Korean cafe hires robot barista to help with social distancing

Updated 25 May 2020

South Korean cafe hires robot barista to help with social distancing

  • It is believed the robots could help with social distancing as the COVID-19 pandemic continues
  • The manufacturer and the scientific institute aim to supply at least 30 cafes with robots this year

DAEJEON, South Korea: The new robot barista at the cafe in Daejeon, South Korea, is courteous and swift as it seamlessly makes its way toward customers.
“Here is your Rooibos almonds tea latte, please enjoy. It’s even better if you stir it,” it says, as a customer reaches for her drink on a tray installed within the large, gleaming white capsule-shaped computer.
After managing to contain an outbreak of the new coronavirus which infected more than 11,000 people and killed 267, South Korea is slowly transitioning from intensive social distancing rules toward what the government calls “distancing in daily life.”
Robots could help people observe social distancing in public, said Lee Dong-bae, director of research at Vision Semicon, a smart factory solution provider which developed the barista robot together with a state-run science institute.
“Our system needs no input from people from order to delivery, and tables were sparsely arranged to ensure smooth movements of the robots, which fits will with the current ‘untact’ and distancing campaign,” he said.
The system, which uses a coffee-making robotic arm and a serving robot, can make 60 different types of coffee and serves the drinks to customers at their seats. It can also communicate and transmit data to other devices and contains self-driving technology to calculate the best routes around the cafe.
An order of six drinks, processed through a kiosk, took just seven minutes. The only human employee at the two-story cafe was a patissier who also has some cleaning duties and refills ingredients.
The manufacturer and the scientific institute aim to supply at least 30 cafes with robots this year.
“Robots are fun and it was easy because you don’t have to pick up your order,” said student Lee Chae-mi, 23. “But I’m also a bit of worried about the job market as many of my friends are doing part-time jobs at cafes and these robots would replace humans.”