- Videos have surfaced on Chinese social media platform Weibo of drones broadcasting COVID-19 rules.
- One of the drones instructed residents to “control your soul’s desire for freedom” and stay indoors.
- Other drones were also seen flying around Shanghai to broadcast masking and social distancing rules.
Videos have circulated on Twitter and the Chinese social media platform Weibo of what appears to be a drone hovering in the sky, broadcasting Covid lockdown guidelines to residents under quarantine.
One particular clip shows a drone with red, flashing lights hovering above apartment buildings, broadcasting a message loudly. The video’s original poster said the clip was taken in a residential district in Shanghai.
“Everyone, don’t sing songs on your balcony. Songjiang Jiuting Park residents sang a little bit and then there was a drone coming over to say to control the desire for freedom in one’s soul,” read the poster’s caption on the video.
In the video, the drone is seen flying over buildings, and a robotic voice broadcasts the message: “Residents of Jiuting. During the pandemic, we request that you strictly abide by COVID-19 restrictions and related guidelines. Control your soul’s desire for freedom. Do not open the window or sing. This increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission.”
—Alice Su (@aliceysu) April 6, 2022
Other drones have also been seen flying over Shanghainese districts, prompting some posters who filmed videos of the drones to call it “a glimpse of Cyberpunk 2077,” referencing the dystopian video game.
In other clips on the Twitter-like Weibo platform, drones broadcasting messages to college students were seen taking off. These drones broadcast messages that indicated that due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, one must keep face masks on at all times and stay in the confines of their college dormitories.
It’s not just drones that are being deployed in Shanghai. Videos of robot dogs trotting along the empty streets of Shanghai have also been uploaded to Weibo.
One robot dog was spotted carrying a loudspeaker from which COVID-19 lockdown guidelines were broadcast.
“Disinfect regularly. Ventilate your home. Prevent the pandemic in a scientific manner,” intoned the broadcast message, in a similarly robotic voice.
—Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) March 31, 2022
Shanghai is currently struggling with a marked surge in COVID-19 cases, prompting the entire city of 26 million to be put on a strict lockdown amid mandated mass-testing for the virus. The city’s Covid-zero policy has, however, drawn flak after disturbing videos emerged of infants and toddlers being left unattended in an overcrowded quarantine center in the city — a move that the Chinese government has defended.
The city’s mass-testing regimen has surfaced more than 94,000 infections in the southern financial hub since March 1, per the South China Morning Post.