California COVID-19 lockdown: Police use drones to force people indoors

Law enforcement in California is using drones to make sure that people do not flout quarantine measures amid a lockdown in the state

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed over 14,700 lives and infected more than 335,000 people around the world. In United States alone, close to 34,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and the death toll has reached 417 as of writing, forcing the country to employ drastic measures and impose lockdowns in hard-hit areas in a desperate attempt to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

New York, California and Washington have been affected the most by the outbreak, forcing authorities to turn to technology to combat the sudden explosion in coronavirus infections in the country and ensure that people stay indoors.

California using drones to enforce lockdown

Law enforcement in California is taking extreme steps to keep people inside their homes as authorities struggle to contain the coronavirus outbreak in the country, which ranks third on the list of most number of confirmed coronavirus cases after China and Italy.

Some police departments in California are using drones to enforce the coronavirus lockdown, as reported by Fox News. For instance, police in Chula Vista, which is located close to San Diego near the California-Mexico border recently acquired two $11,000 drones equipped with speakers and night vision cameras to drive people indoors amid a lockdown in the state.

dji go update for phantom 3
A DJI Phantom 3 Professional drone photographed at Lake Albert in New South Wales, Australia on September 19, 2015 Bidgee/Wikimedia Commons

"We have not traditionally mounted speakers to our drones, but ...  if we need to cover a large area to get an announcement out, or if there were a crowd somewhere that we needed to disperse -- we could do it without getting police officers involved," said Capt. Vern Sallee, according to the Financial Times.

Last week, the government declared a state of emergency in the state prohibiting its inhabitants from leaving their homes, and allowing them to leave only to buy essential supplies and medicines in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.

France, Spain also deploy drones to drive people indoors

Drones have started playing an important role in helping authorities combat the spread of the global pandemic as they look for ways to enforce measures whilst limiting human contact. China was first reported using them amid the outbreak to reprimand citizens who didn't obey the rules, as previously reported.

France and Spain have also recently started using air-borne devices to ensure people stay in quarantine. The European countries are using the drones in public places to relay warnings to people caught flouting the rules and directing them to return home. A video (below) released by the AFP news agency shows a speaker-equipped drone blasting the recently imposed rules to people who are still out and about.

AFP News Agency / YouTube

"All movement outside the home is prohibited unless otherwise specified," the drone's loudspeaker broadcasts to some people apparently relaxing on a beach."Please maintain a safe distance of at least one meter between each person ... all travel outside the home is prohibited without a certificate," the voice from the speaker adds.

Related topics : Coronavirus