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Coronavirus: Italy approves use of drones to monitor social distancing

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Police in Italy can now use drones to monitor social distancing
Police in Italy can now use drones to monitor social distancing   -   Copyright  Jennifer Lorenzini/LaPresse
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Local police in Italy are now permitted to use drones to monitor the movements of citizens during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) confirmed their approval on Monday, after receiving requests for additional support from "many local police units".

The authorisation for the use of drones will last until 3 April, when the travel restrictions in Italy will theoretically be lifted.

ENAC say they can be used in "urban areas" or "where there are small populations exposed to the risk of impact".

But there will be restrictions on the use of drones near civilian airports, and the 25 kilogram weight of drones that can be used.

A number of mayors and politicians across Italy have taken to social media to vent their frustration that many citizens have not been obeying the national lockdown measures.

"If someone comes and explains to me that giving up jogging if you're not safe is a dramatic problem, I'll take them with me to see the hospital wards," said Stefano Bonaccini, president of Emilia Romagna region.

Several regions of Italy, including Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy, are already using drones and other equipment to help enforce quarantine restrictions.

The Italian Interior Ministry have reported that over 92,000 people and more than 2,000 businesses had had been reported for violating movement restrictions, up to Sunday.

Italy has been in lockdown since March 10, and citizens can only leave their homes to go to work, buy basic necessities or for health reasons.