Drones are being used in China to publicly scold people walking around without wearing a face mask amid the country’s growing coronavirus outbreak.
The English-language version of the Global Times — a publication controlled by China’s ruling Communist Party — passed along footage of the drone warnings after they were shared on China’s popular Weibo social network, New York magazine reported Friday.
The video shows people in a village in Inner Mongolia getting startled by a disembodied voice from a hovering drone.
“Yes, Auntie, this is the drone speaking to you — you shouldn’t walk about without wearing a mask,” the voice announces to an elderly woman.
In another segment, the drone warns a small boy, “The coronavirus is very serious — Run.”
“The innovative usage of drones has cheered up Chinese netizens who have not been able to indulge in outdoor entertainment events this [Lunar New Year Holiday] because of the coronavirus,” the Global Times report noted.
Outside China, coverage of the footage indicated that the drones were all being operated by local officials, but that appears to be only partially the case.
The Beijing News reported two of the video segments were made by a local social media influencer who wanted to help boost prevention practices during the coronavirus epidemic. In another segment, a traffic policewoman in the city of Shuyang in northern China uses a traffic drone to call out maskless pedestrians.
“Hey handsome guy, speaking on your mobile — where is your mask? Wear your mask!” she says to a man in a crosswalk.
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