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February 6, 2020

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Drones join anti-virus battle

ONE residential compound in the Pudong New Area is using drones to assist neighborhood efforts to contain the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

As the virus can be transmitted through the air, staying indoors and reducing contact between people are common tactics to curb contagion. In many areas, volunteers and neighborhood committee officials are on the frontlines of containment efforts.

In the Jinkui Jiayuan community, drones are taking over many of the monitoring tasks performed by humans elsewhere.

The drone project involves young tech enthusiasts from the Jinkui Community Youth Science and Technology Innovation Center. Every day — for two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon — youngsters wearing masks and gloves fly drones to patrol the community.

The drones carry loudspeakers which announce: “Please stay at home as much as possible. If you have to go out, don’t forget to wear a mask.”

The drones can also scan car plates and record which vehicles have entered the community.

The drones are also equipped with thermal scanners which can measure the temperatures of people idling in the community. Those with normal temperatures will be encouraged to return home. Officials will be alerted to people with a fever.

Local authorities say that the local “air patrollers” have been doing a fine job since starting on February 1.


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