The small Chilean beach enclave of Zapallar has shifted to high-tech drones to deliver medications, masks, and hand sanitizer to its elderly in distant areas as the coronavirus continues its advance across the largely rural South American country.
A heavy-duty four-propeller drone, complete with landing gear, is loaded with a bag of supplies in the metropolis center then blasts off across the parched, hilly landscape to reach areas that are as much as a two-hour walk from the closest pharmacy.
Chile has confirmed over 10,000 infections of coronavirus in nearly two months since the outbreak started. The nation has placed tough constraints on visits to nursing homes and carried out a system of selective, regional quarantines for those who are sick.
Zapallar has yet to report a case of coronavirus. However, its pilot drone program is developed to keep the elderly and poor, many who lack transportation, out of harm’s way, Mayor Gustavo Alessandri stated. It might also assist supply households in quarantine, should the outbreak struck closer to home.
Seniors rave about the program. The city´s posh coastline is dotted with the homes and helicopter landing pads of Santiago´s wealthy and well-known; however, its interior is poorer, isolated, and more sparsely populated.
The rich beach neighborhood has also used drones for ocean rescues and to watch forest and brush fires.