Drones Helped Italy Flatten the Curve

Drone surveillance helped Italian local law enforcers keep a tight watch over the public, which in turn helped the country slow down the coronavirus spread.

During the early days of Italy’s lockdown period, which started March 10, 2020, local mayors and public health officials were quite frustrated with how residents were making light of the lockdown and social distancing orders. At that time, the nation had already drawn attention as the epicenter of the global pandemic; of being the country outside of China with the highest number of COVID-19 cases.

In order to effectively monitor the movements of local residents, the local police departments in towns and cities, had sought permission in using drones as part of their monitoring methods, from the Italian Civil Aviation Authority or the Ente Nazionale per l’Aviazione Civile (ENAC).

Although ENAC granted approval, the government agency permitted the use of drones only in “urban areas” and in “areas where small populations have been exposed to the risk of the coronavirus impact.”

National Data Shows that Italy’s Lockdown and Social Distancing Measures Yielded Encouraging Results

Italy’s recent national data reports, coming from the Italian Civil Protection Department, show that in a matter of three to four weeks since the national lockdown was imposed, the “curve has flattened.”

Compared with data coming from various sources prior to lockdown, the rate of increase in total confirmed cases between March 06 and 07 was at 26.9%. Thereafter, the rate of increase slowed down to 12.6% between March 16 and 17. Based on the latest reports between March 31 to April 01, the rate of increase in COVID-19 cases had gone down to 4.5%, which suggested that the goal to “flatten the curve” is finally being achieved.

Nonetheless, the Italian government has seen it fit to extend the lockdown period up to May 03, 2020, but only in regions where no new cases of Covid-19 infections have occurred. In hardest hit regions like Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy and Veneto, the lockdown measure might continue up to the summer months, which also suggests that drones will continue to fly and monitor movements.

Even if he curve appears to have flattened, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, is not throwing caution to the wind by immediately lifting the lockdown mandate. In announcing the extension last April 11, the Italian Prime Minister said

”If we give up now, we will be putting at stake all the positive results we have achieved so far, which could restart the epidemic with a new increase in the death toll.”


A Closer Look at the Drones Used by Italian Law Enforcers

In Treviolo, a municipality in Lombardy, one of the hardest hit provinces in Italy, drones continue to hover and emit mechanical buzzing sounds.

Each drone, about the size of a loaf of bread, is equipped with a thermal sensor that checks people’s temperature as a means of detecting those who have been infected. The information will then be received by the drone operator, who constantly checks a thermal map via a hand-held screen, to determine where to send his or her drone.

If the drone detects an offender in a prohibited area, a tiny voice coming from the quadcopter, orders the offender to immediately leave the place; whilst giving reminders that violations of lockdown regulations will result in administrative fines, and even criminal penalties.

Treviolo police commander, Matteo Copia said that

”The drones are useful in controlling the territory as they enabled local police forces to check temperatures even without a person’s knowledge but under perfectly legal conditions.”

Italy’s drone use is one example of how quadcopters are being used today, other than as a form of recreation or for news reporting purposes. As an aside, readers who could be looking to buy affordable drones can checkout a comprehensive list at buybestquadcopter.com’s cheap drones webpage.