Srinagar: For the first time, the Jammu and Kashmir administration is using drones to broadcast audio messages asking people to stay indoors, after the union territory was put under lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The administration seems to have taken a leaf out of China’s book — during its own lockdown, the country had deployed drones in several cities to track down everyone on the streets and asked them to stay inside.
Walking around without a protective face mask? Well, you can't avoid these sharp-tongued drones! Many village and cities in China are using drones equipped with speakers to patrol during the #coronavirus outbreak. pic.twitter.com/ILbLmlkL9R
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) January 31, 2020
So far, four cases have been reported from J&K — three in Jammu and one in Srinagar.
A woman who had returned from Saudi Arabia had tested positive for the virus in Srinagar last week. As a result, the J&K administration enforced restrictions in some districts, but the entire union territory was finally locked down Sunday, a day when the central government and many states announced measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Appeals at Lal Chowk
In Srinagar district, the drones are now playing out messages recorded by police officers requesting people to cooperate and stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The exercise began in the Lal Chowk area, where the deputy superintendent of police Yasir Qadri was overlooking the entire exercise. The DSP has been directed to conduct the exercise across Srinagar’s main city centre, and localities in the adjoining areas.
Later in the day, announcements will be made in the Downtown area of Srinagar as well. “Downtown being a congested area is a priority for us. For now, the announcements have been made in Lal Chowk, Basant Bagh and other areas, but the police will be doing the same across Srinagar,” a senior police officer told ThePrint.
Early in the morning, the officer added, some activity was noticed in the Gaw Kadal area, which prompted the police force to use drones for announcements.
“We noticed some people moving in the area, so decided to use the drones to cover maximum area in minimum time,” he said.
The police in Srinagar will also distribute pamphlets this week to spread awareness about the deadly coronavirus.