As the coronavirus spreads throughout China, people there are getting scolded by drones for not wearing masks — or for just going outside.
Drones hovering above people in rural areas and city streets appear to be broadcasting messages sent in real-time by a human, telling them to put on a mask or go indoors and stay home.
“Yes, auntie, this is the drone speaking to you,” says a voice echoing from a drone hovering over an elderly woman, who looks confused before walking away quickly, a video posted by Chinese state-run media outlet the Global Times showed.
“You see, we’ve been telling people to stay at home but you still wander outside,” the voice continues. “Now a drone is watching you.”
Another clip shows a drone telling a group of women to “put your masks on, hurry up!”
The patrolling comes after the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency because of the virus, which has now claimed the lives of over 200 people and infected over 9,700.
However, experts warn that face masks are not effective at preventing the spread of the virus, advising that frequent hand-washing is the most effective prevention method.
Even children aren’t spared by the drones’ patrolling. The video showed a child being told, “Hey kid! We are in unusual times. Don’t stroll around outside!”
The Global Times tweeted that people walking outside without face masks “can’t avoid these sharp-tongued drones!”