Ghana is utilizing supply drones from U.S.-based startup Zipline to allow it to test folks more rapidly outside major cities for the novel coronavirus, the company mentioned on Monday.
Ghana has 834 confirmed infections and nine people have died from COVID-19, the disease the virus causes.
Zipline operated its first coronavirus test flight on April 1 and will now fly samples collected from over 1,000 health facilities in rural locations to laboratories in the capital Accra and to Kumasi, the second-largest city.
As of April 15, the Ghana Health Service stated it had tested 57,000 coronavirus samples.
“Utilizing contactless drone delivery to transport COVID-19 test samples will enable the government to reply to the pandemic and help save lives more quickly,” Zipline Chief Keller Rinaudo mentioned in a release.
Zipline, which already operates fleets of drones in Ghana and Rwanda to ship blood, vaccines and other important medical equipment to rural locations, is working with the Ministry of Health to enable the coronavirus sample flights.
The corporate said utilizing drones would reduce the delivery time for test samples from hours, with trucks needing to traverse rural roads to gather tests from a number of hospitals to under an hour in some cases.
It mentioned it expects to operate the service daily “during the Authorities’ COVID-19 response efforts.”