‘Please stay at home’: Spanish police using drones to keep people inside during coronavirus lockdown

Citizens banned from leaving homes except for essential trips under state of emergency

'Please stay at home' Spanish police using drones to keep people inside during lockdown

Spanish police are using drones to keep people inside their homes as authorities attempt to tackle the country’s coronavirus outbreak.

With 297 deaths and close to 9,000 cases of infection as of Monday, Spain is Europe’s worst-hit country after Italy.

On Saturday, the government announced a state of emergency that bans citizens from leaving their home, except for buying essential supplies and medicines, for work or to assist the elderly and others in need.

All schools, restaurants, bars, sports venues and cultural centres have been ordered to close, extending measures that various regional authorities had taken in recent days, while social gatherings are also forbidden.

As part of efforts to maintain restrictions, police in Madrid have been deploying drones in public areas, such as Buen Retiro Park, to urge people to return to their homes.

Nearly half of Spain’s cases have been recorded in the Madrid region, according to the Spanish Health Ministry.

“We won’t hesitate to use all the measures we have at our disposal to look out for your safety and everyone’s safety,” the city’s police department said on Twitter. “Although some of you will give us a hard time.”

ENAIRE, Spain’s air navigation manager, announced that it was coordinating with Madrid police in the drone operation, as well as with the country’s Air Force.

The policy follows the same approach adopted by Chinese authorities, who also used drones to keep people indoors and away from public sites as part of the country’s aggressive quarantine efforts.

In announcing the new measures on Saturday, prime minister Pedro Sanchez called for unity and cooperation among Spain’s 46.7 million citizens.

“I want to tell the workers, the self-employed and businesses that the government of Spain is going to do everything in its power to cushion the effects of this crisis,” he said.

“Spain is demonstrating in these critical hours that it has the capacity to overcome adversity.

“We are facing very difficult weeks of efforts and sacrifices. Some important rights must be limited if we want to beat the virus.”

People who break quarantine in Spain can be fined up to €600,000 euros and face prison time.

The state of emergency will last for two weeks, though could be extended if deemed necessary by the government.

France has joined Spain in placing its population on lockdown, while Germany and Portugal have said they will close their borders.

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