It’s not clear who’s operating them, but drones in China are reportedly searching for people walking around without masks and using loudspeakers to loudly urge them to stay home.
A video on the stated-owned newspaper Global Times shows a woman dressed as a police officer talking into a walkie talkie, seemingly broadcasting messages through a drone to warn of imminent danger due to the coronavirus 2019-nCoV.
Details, though, remain hazy, and the Global Times video contains little in the way of explanation. Podcaster Carol Yin wrote on Twitter that at least part of the video appears to be a Chinese influencer rather than an official authority.
The amount of misinformation regarding #coronarvirus is driving me crazy.
The person operating the drone is a civilian, an influencer with 200k follower online, NOT the police.
— Carol Yin (@CarolYujiaYin) January 31, 2020
Regardless, the clip is bizarre — it shows drone footage tailing an older woman while chiding her through a speaker to stay home unless she wears a mask, then switches to similar warnings given to other residents. The last person the drone admonishes in the footage is a small child.
“The coronavirus is very serious… Run!!” read the translated subtitles.
Editor’s note 1/31/2020: This article has been updated to reflect uncertainty regarding about who is behind the drone videos.
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