Chinese officials confirmed that 1,716 medical workers have been infected with the coronavirus; six of those cases have resulted in death. Zeng Yixin, the vice minister of China's National Health Commission, announced the startling figure during a Tuesday press conference.
"At present, the duties of medical workers at the front are indeed extremely heavy," he said, as reported by Reuters. "Their working and resting circumstances are limited, the psychological pressures are great, and the risk of infection is high."
According to CNN, nearly 90 percent of these cases were reported in Hubei province, where the outbreak began in late 2019. Dr. Li Wenliang, known as the coronavirus whistleblower, was among the physicians were died from the virus. The 34-year-old doctor was reportedly target by Wuhan police after he attempted to alert the nation about the deadly virus. Wenliang was accused of rumor-mongering and "making false comments" that "severely disturbed the social order." He died on Feb. 7, nearly one month after he contracted the virus from one of his patients.
In the months since the outbreak emerged, coronavirus has killed approximately 1,380 people and more than 60,000 others around the world. As fears of a full-blown pandemic continue to grow, Chinese officials are looking for ways to stymie the outbreak. And it appears several of these tactics involve drones.
As pointed out by Gizmodo, Chinese police are deploying the devices to spray disinfectants as well as to warn citizens to keep their medical masks on. There are also reports that the drones are being used to track the health information of people entering and leaving certain areas.
Police are flying drones around vehicle checkpoints with a large QR code that people are supposed to scan to register their health information. And while we didn’t believe it at first, reports from China’s state-run media indicate that it’s actually happening.
Photos and videos of the QR code drones have surfaced on social media.