Italian Police Deploy Drones to Track and Arrest Lockdown Violators

A drone used by Israeli troops fires teargas at Palestinians during a demonstration near the Gaza Strip border with Israel, in eastern Gaza City, Friday, March 30, 2018. Palestinians clashed with Israeli troops along the Gaza border Friday morning as thousands gathered there for mass sit-ins led by the militant …
AP/Hatem Moussa

Italian police have begun using drones to spot gatherings of people who may be trying to avoid the nationwide quarantine, arresting those who violate government orders.

Police have begun enforcing the quarantine, as many Italians have not obeyed lockdown orders. The Italian Interior Ministry reported earlier in the week that over 200,000 people had been controlled by the police and over 8,000 reported for violating movement restrictions.

A total of 116,712 commercial enterprises were also inspected by police, with 195 business operators reported for violations and 29 businesses forced to suspend their activities, Italian newspaper Il Giornale reports.

Drones have seen use in several regions of Italy, including Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy, which has seen the largest surge in both cases and deaths in the country.

Police are said to be asking Italians various questions to prove they were outside for essential reasons, such as purchasing food, by asking for purchase receipts or the address of the supermarket or doctor they were travelling to.

Some Italian prosecutors have also ordered immediate payment of fines for breaking the quarantine, while others have called for arrests.

To help police with the lockdown, Italy called in the armed forces on Friday, according to Lombardy governor Attilio Fontana, who had proposed the idea to Italian president Sergio Mattarella.

“I repeated to President Mattarella the need to use the Army to support the police in order to [enforce] compliance with the rules,” he said, adding: “I can say that President Mattarella shared my request for the good and protection of the health of the community.”

Italy, which has been hardest hit by the Wuhan coronavirus in Europe and has surpassed China for the number of officially confirmed fatalities, is not the only country to see the deployment of the armed forces to help with the crisis.

Members so the Austrian armed forces have also been deployed in warehouses for supermarket chains in order to help maintain a steady supply, as many people stockpile food and other essential goods.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)



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