It’s remarkable how the use of drones is transforming how society as responding to tragedies and pandemics. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has been no exception either as we witnessed drones adopt new strategies that are groundbreaking in terms of public awareness and safety.
A good example would be in rural South Africa at Tzaneen Municipality in Limpopo Province where drones are being used to sensitize the public. The message is conveyed by the mayor himself as the drones fly about the town and delivering warnings on the adverse effects of the virus.
The area has only 3 hospitals in Mopani District, a situation that prompts the authorities to maximize prevention and awareness to avoid any potential outbreak that could overwhelm the health facilities.
Speaking to the VOA, mayor Maripe Mangema was upbeat on the new strategy. A licensed drone service provider is carrying out the messaging service at potential hotspot areas, an exercise that coordinates closely with the police and the municipal Covid-19 committee.
Jack Shilubana, the Managing Director at Ntiyiso Aviation Services, debunked the notion that adopting drone technology was an unnecessary expense for an awareness exercise. He described the cost-benefit situation as a delicate “balancing act.”
In rural areas of the continent, drone services ae integral as the areas lack deep penetrating infrastructure. Thus their services deliver more value for money spent. The drone project has earned the local mayor nationwide repute as the new Big Brother and has featured in the news, local and international publications.
Sam Twala, the chairperson of the South Africa Federation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, endorsed the use of drones during the pandemic, affirming that authorities can “tactically” locate their people and hence offer proper guidance.
South Africa has been one of the hardest hit by Covid-19 and remains the top African country in terms of testing. Recently, the government considered relaxing some of the shutdown measures as the intentions of the earlier extended lockdown seemed to have been achieved.