Covid-19: Italy's police to monitor crowds from the sky

Police to use drones and helicopters to monitor the movement of people of the Immacolata long weekend.

Police in Italy are to use helicopters and drones to monitor the movements of people over this holiday weekend, reports newspaper Corriere della Sera.

Italy marks the Feast of the Immaculate Conception with a national public holiday on Tuesday 8 December, with many people in Italy taking 7 December off to make a "ponte" (bridge) or four-day weekend.

Police are using the occasion as a "dress rehearsal of what will happen between Christmas and New Year," in light of Italy's new emergency decree to combat covid-19, according to Corriere della Sera.

Particular attention will be paid to busy shopping streets, with drones flying overhead, while helicopters will be deployed over cities and highways, with roadblocks to be set up at motorway toll booths as well as near airports, ports and train stations to check the "proven needs" of those on the move, reports the Corriere.

Shopping centres are closed all over Italy at weekends, putting the focus on shopping streets, with police controlling the influx of Christmas shoppers into busy commercial areas.

In addition to limiting the numbers of people in town, police will have the power to cordon off streets, squares and even whole areas.

In Rome the checks will be centred on the central Tridente area around Via del Corso, in the Prati district near the Vatican and Ostia on the coast near the capital.

Other areas of focus by police include the Africano quarter, and the Appio and Tuscolano neighbourhoods, reports the Corriere.