On January 23, the Chinese government ordered the quarantine of Wuhan to try to contain the coronavirus outbreak. As part of this, all flights, trains, and public transport have been halted in the city, and many of the routes out closed. Vehicle use is also prohibited in Wuhan’s downtown, except for cabs and authorized vehicles carrying supplies.
It’s the biggest quarantine in history, and makes for an eerie atmosphere, if this footage captured by drones over the city is anything to go by. An estimated 5 million residents left Wuhan before the lockdown, with around 9 million remaining, mayor Zhou Xianwang told the South China Morning Post.
These streets are normally extremely busy. Now, there are very few people moving around the city.
It’s not clear when the quarantine or the coronavirus outbreak will end. There’s speculation that the World Health Organization is likely to declare the virus a pandemic in the coming days or weeks, unless the spread is contained.
This isn’t the only use of drones in the city. Drones have reportedly been used to tell people off around China for going outside and going outside without wearing face masks.
In footage circulated on social media, the drones can be heard harassing one man as he attempts to get snow off his cart.
“Uncle, we are in unusual times,” the drone tells the bemused man. “Why did you come outside without wearing a mask? Isn’t it comfortable to stay at home with food and drinks? Why do you always come outside, you can sort this out in a few days,” the man laughs at the quite weird situation. The drone does not share his humor.
“Don’t laugh. Now get on your cart and go home immediately. Don’t come out if [it’s] not necessary.”
The drone then pursued the man down the road, berating him for not wearing a mask and saying “what are you looking at?” like an angry hooligan, “go home now!”