On French Riviera, overhead police drone gives coronavirus orders

NICE, France (Reuters) - The rare person venturing onto deserted beaches below the palm-fringed Promenade des Anglais along the Nice seafront will hear a coronavirus health warning from above, blared from a drone: “Keep a safe distance of at least one metre between people.”

Police in the French Riviera city have teamed up with a private drone operator. Soon a second drone may be deployed further along the coast, in Cannes.

Armed with a loudspeaker, the drone whirrs above some of the city’s most popular locations, reminding citizens of the government’s confinement order.

France has told citizens to stay indoors except to buy food, go to work or seek medical help, as it fights one of the fastest-growing coronavirus epidemics in Europe. President Emmanuel Macron has expressed frustration that people are not taking public health orders seriously.

Nice mayor Christian Estrosi announced he would be shutting down the Promenade des Anglais and that he might impose a curfew if necessary.

(This story fixes typo in paragraph 5.)

Reporting by Michel Bernouin; Writing by Maya Nikolaeva; Editing by Richard Lough and Peter Graff