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Đà Nẵng awaits permission to use drones for COVID monitoring

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The People’s Committee of Hải Châu District in central Đà Nẵng City has piloted the use of drones for monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and enforcing the social-distancing of local residents in quarantine zones and small alleys in the city.

Those who are found breaking the rules during social distancing will be sanctioned, it said.

The move was the local authority’s effort in tightening measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 after nearly two weeks of implementing social distancing. Violations such as mass gatherings have been reported in small alleys.

On August 29, Vũ Quang Hùng, secretary of Hải Châu District’s Party Committee, told Thanh Niên (Young) newspaper that the district was still waiting for the Military Region 5’s approval for licensing the use of drones to monitor residents in some areas.

This is one of the solutions to combat the pandemic when the city requires people ‘to stay where they are.’

Hùng also said local functional forces, in cooperation with the city’s Development Association, implemented the pilot of 15 drones in the district.

“We recorded some good results in the flight test. People were more aware when they saw drones on patrol. In addition, we have deployed more than 40 drones operating in small alleys, bringing the total number of cameras at these areas to about 60,” he said.

A drone is seen operating in Hải Châu District in central Đà Nẵng City.

According to Hùng, the locality called upon for the support of the Đà Nẵng Development Association for drones instead of using the local budget.

Vice Chairman of Hải Châu District’s People’s Committee Trương Thanh Dũng said the military had warned about flying drones in the area on Sunday afternoon.

“The flight test was implemented in the two wards of Hòa Thuận Đông and Bình Hiên. I was at the flight test and recorded quite good results. Many people rushed back to their home after finding monitoring drones,” he said.

Dũng said it was just a test flight, and the district was still waiting for the military’s approval.

He said there were restricted areas or completely banned areas for drones, so the district would only use drones to monitor the pandemic in small alleys.

In reply to concerns that surveillance drones would be ineffective in small alleys, Hùng said the district would install more surveillance cameras at these locations.

Chairman of the Đà Nẵng Development Association Trần Hữu Đức Nhật said as long as operators were well equipped with knowledge of handling situations and had technique, there would be no problem using the drones in smaller areas.

Nhật said the flying of 15 drones recorded some difficulties in small alleys, but experienced operators could handle the situation well.

Drones would transmit live images to local leaders, so that they could easily detect violators, especially those in red zones who intentionally went out during social distancing.

Support package

The city’s People’s Committee yesterdayannounced that it had approved a package of more than VNĐ 71 billion (US$3.1 million) to support 50,000 households in need of food and medical supplies in the city.

Of that, VNĐ 25 billion was given to the Department of Industry and Trade and the rest to local district authorities. The Department of Industry and Trade has purchased food boxes worth VNĐ500,000 per box to give to those in need.

The city’s People’s Committee has approved the financial support of VNĐ29.05 trillion for those who work for the management boards of residential areas, apartment complexes or villages to fight the pandemic. As estimated, each will be given VNĐ1 million. VNS

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