Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Flying drones to search out Italian beachgoers who unfold COVID-19

  • Rome’s health authorities are using drones on Roman beaches.
  • Flying drones to remotely measure the temperature of beach goers in Italy.
  • Drones are used to track COVID-19 and prevent health emergencies.

Local health authorities in Rome, Italy are deploying a drone to fly around the beaches of Ostia, near Rome, and automatically check the temperature of all beach goers to detect people with a potential COVID-19 infection.

The “medical” drone was supposed to patrol the beaches of Ostia, a suburb of Rome, this weekend, but the experiment was postponed for this Saturday and Sunday due to poor weather forecast.

According to Italian health authorities, the drone would “automatically” measure temperatures while it hovers at least 25 m above the water and remains at least 30 m away from people. The test flights were scheduled for five hours between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“If the drone detects a person with a fever, it will identify them and alert the medical surveillance team,” officials said. “The doctors then arrive at the site for an examination, which can lead to a COVID-19 test.”

Officials pledged to respect privacy, saying vacationers with normal temperatures would not be identified.

Marta Branca, the head of ASL Roma 3, a public health agency that covers several districts in the Italian capital, denied rumors that the aircraft would be used to hunt down people who transmit the disease.

“It’s just a way to ensure that an illness or accident on the beach or at sea is detected immediately and not a single moment is lost in the rescue effort,” Branca tweeted. “My father died like that. Maybe he would still be here with this drone. “

At the same time, Branca admitted some failures in communicating about the initiative and promised to avoid misunderstandings in the future.

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