Police in Spain have turned to drones to encourage people to stay indoors and practice social distancing during the country’s now surging COVID-19 outbreak.
The drones have been equipped with speakers that officers can use to broadcast live messages from their squad cars.
The drones are part of neighborhood sweeps police have been implementing to enforce a country-wide lockdown that began on Saturday.
The drones have been used in Madrid to help clear parks and other public spaces where many in the country had continued to gather in spite of growing health concerns, according to a report in Popular Mechanics.
Under the country’s lockdown, which was implemented the same day Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s wife Begoña Gómez tested positive for COVID-19, people are banned from leaving home for any reason other than to buy essential supplies and medicine or to go to work.
As with many other countries around the world, Spain has required schools and all non-essential businesses to close, including museums, sporting events, and restaurants, which are restricted to delivery and takeout orders.
Drones have been a common tool for many countries to help reinforce public health norms during the outbreak.
In China, drones with thermal cameras were deployed in Fuxin, a city in the northeastern part of the country near the border with North Korea.
The drones were used to measure people’s temperatures as they walked through public spaces in an effort to identify individuals with high temperatures.
In other parts of China, drones were used to deliver masks, groceries, and other essential supplies to quarantined families.
Chinese officials also used drones with chemical sprayers to disinfect sidewalks, market alleyways, and other public spaces.
Chinese hospitals used wheeled robots to disinfect hospital rooms and make deliveries to patients in quarantine with the highly infectious virus.