Now COUNCILS use talking DRONES to spy on people ‘ignoring coronavirus isolation advice’ – and order them back inside with loudspeakers
- Neath Port Talbot Council has teamed up with South Wales Police to roll drones
- Being deployed to tourist hotspots and locations likely to see mass gatherings
- The drones will transmit a message via loudspeaker to members of the public
- But people say they are being targeted and sent home while queuing outside
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
A council is using drones equipped with loudspeakers to catch people ignoring coronavirus isolation advice.
Neath Port Talbot Council has teamed up with South Wales Police to roll out the tactic across the local area.
The gadgets are being deployed to tourist hotspots and locations in Wales that are likely to see mass gatherings.
But members of the public have hit back at the extraordinary move, claiming they are being targeted while queuing outside for hours waiting for groceries and medication.
The drones are operating in high streets in Wales in a bid to disperse people
Police will now ARREST anyone who flouts the travel ban
People who continue to flout coronavirus lockdown rules will be breaking the law and could be arrested by police.
Those who ignore tougher restrictions on movement could be hit with a £60 fine initially and another for £120 for a second offence, the Home Office warned.
Officers will have the power to enforce rules on staying at home and avoiding non-essential travel from Thursday.
They can order members of the public to go home, leave an area and have the power to disperse a group.
Police can also take steps to make sure parents are stopping their children from breaking the rules.
According to the guidance, the cost of initial fixed penalty notices will be cut to £30 if paid within 14 days and those who do not pay could be taken to court and risk facing costs for unlimited fines.
The Home Office said: ‘If an individual continues to refuse to comply, they will be acting unlawfully, and the police may arrest them where deemed proportionate and necessary.
‘However, in the first instance, the police will always apply their common sense and discretion.’
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: ‘The Prime Minister has been clear on what we need to do: stay at home to protect our NHS and save lives.
‘All our frontline services really are the best of us and are doing an incredible job to stop this terrible virus from spreading.
‘That’s why I’m giving the police these new enforcement powers, to protect the public and keep people safe.’
All but key workers have been told to stay at home by authorities in a bid to slow to the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The drones transmit the message: ‘This is a message from Neath Port Talbot Council. Please follow the government rules at this time. You must stay home.’
The council said the idea is to remind residents of the current instructions such as staying inside unless shopping, exercising or carrying out essential journeys.
While some praised the measures, others claimed they were unnecessary.
Writing on Facebook, Carly Murray said: ‘This upset a lot of people today at Neath boots. People were waiting for prescriptions and people were very orderly and staying two metres apart. This drone turned up and changed the mood.
‘As people were perplexed where it’s had come from and what they could do as they were waiting for Boots. People were annoyed to be told to go home when they were already stressed and fed up waiting hours for medications.’
A spokesman from Neath Port Talbot council said: ‘Drones are now being used to distribute public information messages across Neath Port Talbot during the coronavirus outbreak.
‘We have teamed up with South Wales Police to survey hotspots where people are not following government measures on social distancing.
‘The drones are equipped with speakers that will transmit messages directly to the public.
‘We are reminding residents to stay at home except for (reasons outlined by the Government).’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the three-week lockdown across the nation earlier this week.
In a nationwide address – watched by more than 27 million people – Mr Johnson told the public to stay at home during the pandemic to ease pressure on the NHS.
He said the lockdown was ‘vital to slow the spread of the disease’ and ‘save more lives.’
The population has been told to stay at home unless they need to leave the house for one of four reasons – shopping for basic necessities such as food and medicine, one form of exercise a day, any medical need, or travelling to and from work.
Poll finds 11% of Britons are still going to crowded public spaces and 10% are visiting friends
A survey for ITV’s Peston programme found millions of people are not complying with the government’s lockdown measures
A shock poll conducted for ITV’s Peston this week found 7 per cent of Britons are still going out to see friends, 8 per cent are doing ‘non-essential shopping’ and 5 percent have not started washing their hands more.
The survey also showed 6 per cent are continuing to hug others and shake hands, despite warnings this will spread the deadly virus which has already claimed 463 lives in Britain with 9,500 people now having tested positive.
Some 11 per cent of people are still going to public places while 33 per cent are stockpiling and ignoring pleas from supermarkets to save goods for the elderly, vulnerable and NHS workers.
A further 8 per cent (5.8 million) are continuing to shop for goods when not absolutely necessary and 7 per cent are meeting people outside of the immediate family they are living with, according to the JL Partners survey.
It also revealed that some 5 per cent of people – or 2.6million of the population – are still not washing their hands more than usual, or for longer than usual.
Some 34 per cent of people still going shopping and seeing friends claim they are doing it ‘safely’, while 14 per cent claim the risk of coronavirus is being ‘exaggerated’ and 7 per cent refuse to abandon their daily habits because the Government ‘hasn’t ruled it out’.
Those refusing to comply by the Government advice are generally young males while 15 per cent steadfastly say ‘we can’t let the virus defeat us’.