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22.03.2020 Europe

French police deploy drones to enforce coronavirus restrictions

By RFI
Foto: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
LISTEN MAR 22, 2020
Foto: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Police in France are using the latest drone technology, as well as helicopters, to ensure that residents are staying indoors during the lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus. 

“Helicopters will give us a larger view of the situation in real time to help guide patrols on the ground,” the National Police said.

Police helicopters have been seen throughout Paris, including near the Eiffel Tower and around parks to make sure people are not leaving their homes for non-essential trips.

France has imposed a two-week confinement order to combat the coronavirus pandemic, with a view to expanding the lockdown if necessary.

Residents are only allowed to leave their homes for grocery shopping, to go to the pharmacy, or light exercise within a two-kilometre radius of their home.

The order has affected all businesses, with people are required to work from home unless they are essential staff, including hospital workers, petrol station attendants, or grocery store employees.

Nice already under drone patrol
Police in Nice have already deployed drones to accompany police and serve as warning loudspeakers to enforce the coronavirus lockdown.

"A reminder of the instructions relating to the Covid-19 epidemic: all travel outside the home is prohibited unless exempted. Please respect a safety distance of at least one meter between each person," says the drone repeatedly, piloted by the company Drone06, owned by former police officer Sabri ben Hassen.

The police drone packs a punch: the speaker delivers the power of 100 decibels, says ben Hassen.

"By comparison, an Airbus taking off produces 120 decibels,” he adds.

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi has already used his municipal powers to impose a 11pm - 7am curfew on the city, an initiative not yet seen in Paris or other parts of France.

France's scientific council will make an announcement on Monday on whether to extend or expand emergency measures throughout the country, according to Health Minister Olivier Véran.

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