‘You must stay at home’: Council uses drones to warn public to follow UK government coronavirus advice

Video shows drone telling those outdoors to 'follow government rules' 

Coronavirus: Drones being used to distribute public information messages across Port Talbot

Drones with speakers are being used by a council to tell people to stay indoors and follow the UK government’s social distancing advice to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Neath Port Talbot Council in Wales has introduced the drones over concerns about residents not following health advice to stay at home except for essential trips, such as buying food and medicine.

In a video shared on the council’s Facebook page, the drone can be heard saying: “This is a message from Neath Port Talbot Council. Please follow the government rules at this time. You must stay home.”

A spokesperson for the local authority, which is thought to be the only council using drones in this way, said the devices were used for the first time on Thursday.

“We have teamed up with South Wales Police to survey hotspots where people are not following government measures on social distancing,” they said.

“The message being played is reminding residents to stay at home except for: shopping for necessities, obtaining medical supplies, one period of daily exercise, and travelling to and from essential work.”

The video came as other local authorities have used different strategies to deter people from breaking lockdown rules.

On Friday, Derbyshire Police defended its use of drones to deter people from flouting rules by walking in the Peak District.

The police force filmed people in pairs rambling in the Curbar Edge area on Wednesday and said travelling to remote areas for exercise did not count as “essential travel”.

However, the strategy has attracted criticism from some people, such as the UK civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, who have branded the move as “sinister” and “counterproductive”.

“We wanted to reinforce the message of stay home,” Superintendent Steve Pont told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“A number of people aren't staying home, they're finding excuses or loopholes, reasons not to stay home - and we just wanted to illustrate that this is the wrong thing to do.”

Boris Johnson, the prime minister, announced a three-week nationwide lockdown across the UK to slow the spread of Covid-19 on Monday.

The UK has already reported more than 750 deaths related to the coronavirus, as of Friday, with 14,579 confirmed cases.

Additional reporting by PA

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in