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Tijuana police using drones to slow the spread of coronavirus

Tijuana police followed Chula Vista in using drones to slow the spread of coronavirus.

TIJUANA, Baja California — Tijuana police officers began using drones to broadcast messages about coronavirus as the city continues to see an increasing number of cases.

The police department has several drones in its fleet. It typically uses them to patrol high-crime areas and assist officers on the ground. Last week, the department began flying 20-minute missions to densely populated areas and shopping plazas.

“Sometimes they’re surprised. They don’t know where the voices are from and they look and see it in the sky and pay attention,” said Eduardo Sarquis, who works with drone program.

As of Monday morning, there were 471 confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Tijuana, which is nearly double any other city in Baja California. Health officials are investigating 296 additional suspected cases and reported 51 deaths from the virus.

Police have set up dozens of check points and information stands to raise awareness about the virus. The department estimated vehicle traffic is down about 50% and transit usage is down roughly 40%.

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