The UK government is to set aside UK2.6 million for drone and satellite technology to increase and improve the general delivering of vital supplies during the Covid-19 pandemic whilst managing future infectious disease outbreaks.
According to the dailymail.com, this is a joint initiative between the UK and European space agencies to support the NHS. In a bid to find new ways to deliver vital equipment such as PPEs and test kits for frontline NHS staff, drones are an obvious avenue to pursue. Employing such craft for spraying sanitisers and monitoring social distancing are also on the agenda.
Companies have been asked to submit their proposals, including ideas for deployment and a pilot phase, on the European Space Agency (ESA) website. Logistics within the health delivery system eg. the employment of drones include: Managing infectious disease outbreaks both present and future, population health and wellbeing and the recovery of the health system functions and handling backlogs after the crisis.
Science Minister Amand Solloway commented, “This new funding will ensure that the latest innovations will be on the frontline of tackling the unique problems the coronavirus outbreak has created, helping medical staff to focus on delivering world-class care.”
Drones are already being used across Europe during the pandemic to encourage stringent social distancing measures during lockdowns and prevent the spread of the disease via human contact. In the UK, Neath Port Talbot Council amongst others, is deploying talking drones to catch people ignoring coronavirus isolation advice. The device gives troublemakers a “telling-off” through the speakers and requesting people to ‘follow government advice’ and ‘stay at home’.
In Turkey and other countries, drones have been flown to sanitise public areas with disinfectant as a preventive measure. While in Szolnok, Hungary, for example, police officers have used a drone to find residents who are failing to comply with the stay-at-home orders.
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