A drone hovers over a befuddled elderly lady, almost stalking her. Speakers attached to the flying machine chime out a sing-song but commanding warning. “Grandma, do not go out without wearing a protective mask, and you better stay at home to be safe.” A photographer at a village in northern China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region captures the rural woman’s encounter with ultra-modern technology—something in ample use in the country’s aggressive fight against the outbreak of an unknown strain of coronavirus that has no vaccine, no cure. Drones tennoying warnings and steps people should take to check the spread of the virus—checking body temperature and spraying disinfectant—in the early days of the outbreak was one of the examples of how the country pulled out all its state-of-the-art technological stops against the contagion.
In epicentre Wuhan, where 11 million residents are quarantined within the city limits, technology is rising up to the challenge in providing basics like food. As people are wary of direct contact with strangers, a meal delivery firm has adapted its app so riders and customers don’t have to meet face-to-face. The app allows users to add a note to the delivery guy to drop off the food on their doorstep or at a location of choice, from where the customer picks up the package, which also comes with a receipt that mentions not only the price but also the body temperature of the cook and the rider.