Western Australia has begun utilising police drones to enforce the government’s strict new social distancing rules. The drones will monitor the streets and deliver loud warnings to people not abiding by the restrictions.
“Today WA Police will be launching drones, capable of deploying to public areas to broadcast messages to large groups of people not adhering to mass gathering or social distancing rules,” said WA premier Mark McGowan during a press conference.
McGowan also stated that the drones will be kitted with lights, sirens and speakers that can be heard around one kilometre away.
“I understand this is extreme and draconian, this is not normal but we want to send a message to people.”
“The primary objective is to reinforce the serious nature of the environment we’re in.”
The drones will join 200 police officers across Western Australia who will be patrolling streets across the state. Anyone found breaching the rules can be given a $1000 on-the-spot fine.
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These new measures come a few days after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the latest crackdown on social gatherings across the country.
Social gatherings are now limited to two people and people are supposed to stay at home unless enagaging in en “essential” activity such as buying food or home essentials, going to work or school, going to a medical appointment or visiting a pharmacy and exercising.
Other approved activities include moving house and providing care for a relative. Here’s a full breakdown from the new Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) order 2020.
‘Pandemic Drones’ are also being developed at the University of South Australia to help track the spread of COVID-19. However, there is currently no timeline on if or when they would be employed or if the government plans on using them.