UAE coronavirus: Smart helmets now used by police to detect COVID-19 infections

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Smart helmets capable of monitoring those who may be infected with coronavirus are now to be used by specialist police teams around the UAE, the ministry of interior said late Wednesday.

Effective monitoring is essential as countries prepare to come out of lockdowns. The new helmets will help authorities detect new cases and ensure that those who are infected are given medical treatment and put in isolation. Mass testing, which is also key to stamping out transmission strains, has begun to be implemented across the emirates.

The “super-intelligent helmets” are capable of monitoring the temperature of people within five meters, Major General Sheikh Mohammed bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Ministry of Interior’s Council for Innovation, said during an unveiling presentation. They will make an alert sound and issue warnings, according to the condition of the person scanned.

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“Police teams and patrols will use the helmet to diagnose people from a safe distance, enabling them to handle crowds, obtain vital readings, and analyse data. The technology can also create and read QR codes, as they are equipped with thermal cameras and sensors that enable them to recognise faces and store and recognise vehicle licence plate numbers. The helmets are also capable of night vision,” a WAM statement on the helmets read.

The new helmets will help patrols in the field by taking temperature readings and identifying people and “link directly to the ministry’s central operations rooms to generate a quick report, which will enable users to make appropriate decisions,” the statement continued.

Police will be able to use the helmets in various climatic conditions and outdoors, as well as in “unusual environments,” and they use thermal radiation based on smart technology.

Lt. General H.H. Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, has adopted the technology to be used by specialist police teams around the country.

The nationwide lockdown is set to expire on April 18, and ticketing has begun for select flights set to start May 1. As the country comes out of lockdown, monitoring will be key to ensure a second wave of the virus does not spread.

Al Arabiya English previously reported that the UAE could flatten its curve in two to three weeks, as long as people continue to take proper social distancing precautions and stay home as much as possible.

Testing has ramped up in the country, with drive-thru testing available in multiple emirates. The UAE is conducting around 15,000 tests per day.

As of Wednesday, there are 4,933 confirmed cases in the UAE and 28 deaths from coronavirus.

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