Photo/Illutration A surveillance robot and soundproof working spaces in a new concept accommodation facility for COVID-19 patients in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward on Jan. 23 (Naoko Kawamura)

The Tokyo metropolitan government on Jan. 25 will open an Olympic-related facility that has been redesigned to comfortably accommodate asymptomatic COVID-19 patients and prevent them from spreading the virus to family members.

The Tokyo Sports Square in Chiyoda Ward has 350 partitioned rooms each with a bed, a TV and a desk. The facility also has a shared space with a large screen TV and e-book section, as well as an exercise room and soundproof booths for telephone calls or video conferences.

A surveillance robot will patrol the facility. Doctors will stay there during the daytime and nurses will be available 24/7.

The facility is intended to provide a normal daily-life environment and lure asymptomatic patients who may prefer to recover at home, where they pose a risk to their family members.

“This facility is one of the model cases that, through various measures and efforts, allow us to secure spaces where patients can feel safe and comfortable,” Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said during a visit to the new concept facility on Jan. 23. “I would like people (to stay here) to avoid infecting family members, including children and seniors.”

She said the metropolitan government will open a similar facility, with around 650 beds, in Tachikawa city in early February.

The metropolitan government currently operates 4,760 rooms in hotels or other accommodation facilities for patients with no or mild symptoms.

About 2,700 patients are recuperating in isolation in those rooms now.

But infection cases are skyrocketing, and many new patients have declined to stay in such accommodations. The number of patients recuperating at home in the capital has reached 24,000.

(This article was written by Kayoko Sekiguchi and Yoshitaka Unezawa.)