Zipline, the world’s only national scale on-demand drone delivery service, has announced that it has begun delivering Covid-19 test samples.
Zipline drones now fly test samples collected from patients in more than 1,000 health facilities located in difficult-to-reach rural areas of Ghana to Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research laboratories in Accra, the nation’s capital, and Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research (KCCR) in Kumasi, the country’s second-largest city.
The revolutionary new service improves the Government of Ghana’s ability to monitor the spread of Covid-19 more quickly.
“Zipline is dedicated to helping Ghana in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo.
“Using contactless drone delivery to transport COVID-19 test samples will allow the government to respond to the pandemic and help save lives more quickly.”
“Thanks to the partnership with the Ministry of Health and with the help of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, Zipline is now able to further strengthen Ghana’s response to the pandemic,” said Daniel Marfo, General Manager of Zipline in Ghana.
The service began on Friday, April 17, when 51 Covid-19 test samples collected from patients at rural health facilities were transported to Zipline’s distribution center in Omenako, Ghana.
Over the course of four separate flights, each more than 70 miles/116km’s round tip, Zipline delivered the 51 samples to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Accra for testing and analysis.
The company will also be delivering Covid-19 test samples collected at regional hospitals near its Mampong distribution center to the Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research, a nearly 60 mile/100km round trip flight.
The first such delivery took place on Saturday, April 18, 2020.
The company expects to operate this new daily service for the duration of the Government’s Covid-19 response efforts.
This marks the first time in history that autonomous drones have been used to make regular long-range deliveries into densely populated urban areas.
It is also the first time that drones have been used in this way to deliver Covid-19 test samples.
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