Dubai police test using surveillance cameras to detect coronavirus

The CCTV cameras will also test the distance between individuals in shopping centers and public places.

al-monitor A man is seen through a thermal camera at Dubai International Airport, as Emirates airline resumed limited outbound passenger flights amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in Dubai, April 27, 2020.  Photo by REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah.

May 19, 2020

Hoping to spot signs of the coronavirus among the public, police in Dubai are testing out the use of security cameras fitted with facial recognition software and thermal imaging technology. 

Thousands of CCTV cameras already used to spot criminals throughout the city will be equipped with artificial intelligence that can detect an increase in body temperature, reports Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National.   

The project dubbed Oyoon — Arabic for “eyes” — will also be used to ensure residents are practicing social distancing. Brig. Khalid Nasser Al Razooqi, a Dubai police official, said the CCTV cameras will test the distance between individuals in shopping centers and public places and alert law enforcement if they are standing too close to one another, reports Gulf News.

During the city’s 24-hour lockdown in April, police announced they would be relying on speed radars to determine whether cars on the streets belonged to people with essential jobs and movement permits or were in violation of movement restrictions.  

Dubai police have also tested temperature-scanning helmets equipped with thermal imaging cameras that would allow officers to detect fevers in crowds. 

Today, the United Arab Emirates reported 873 coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 25,063 with 227 deaths. Following a recent uptick in cases, the government announced it would extend the nationwide curfew by two hours each night. 

After imposing one of the Gulf region’s harshest lockdowns in March, Dubai has begun loosening its coronavirus restrictions. Last week, the city approved the reopening of parks and hotel beaches, and in late April allowed malls to resume business with limited capacity. Mosques, movie theaters and nightclubs remain closed.

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