French police the latest to use speaker drones to enforce coronavirus lockdown

A growing number of countries are imposing lockdowns as part of efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19.

Lockdowns are currently in place in countries such as Italy, Spain, and France, which have ordered their citizens to stay indoors and only go out if absolutely necessary. Similarly drastic measures are being taken in states across the U.S., among them California, New York, and New Jersey.

But some people are flouting the order, prompting cops in the French city of Nice to deploy speaker-drones that blast out messages to remind people of the strict rules that are currently in place.

It follows similar drone deployments in parts of China, as well as Madrid, Spain.

A video (below) released by the AFP news agency shows a speaker-equipped drone barking the recently imposed rules to people who are still out and about.

“All movement outside the home is prohibited unless otherwise specified,” the loudspeaker bellows to some people apparently relaxing on a beach, suggesting Nice cops have some work to do to enforce the order. The voice from the speaker continues: “Please maintain a safe distance of at least one meter between each person … all travel outside the home is prohibited without a certificate.”

The police are of course still surveying the streets using cars and bikes, but the drones, which also have cameras, can also help them to more easily spot people wandering around, and at the same time offer easy access to pedestrian-only spaces such as beaches and parks.

The emergency orders vary from country to country, but in general terms most allow citizens to go out to buy food, collect medicines, seek medical help, and commute to work. Schools and universities, as well as restaurants, bars, hotels, and other nonessential businesses, have also been closed until the worst of the pandemic is over.

The lockdowns are designed to reduce contact between people in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. It’s considered by some as an important measure in the battle against the virus as it should help to prevent health services from becoming suddenly overwhelmed with numerous patients.

States across the U.S. are beginning to impose their own lockdowns with varying degrees of freedom, but the decision earlier this year by the Department of the Interior to ground its entire fleet of Chinese-made drones over fears they may be used for spying suggests folks in the U.S. are unlikely to see (and hear) speaker-drones overhead anytime soon.

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