The U.K. is set to begin testing of drones to deliver medical supplies and equipment to frontline health workers as part of its enhanced measures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
This follows Ghana’s decision to use drones to fast-track the transportation of Covid-19 test samples as part of its enhanced response to the pandemic, making it the first nation in the world to use the technology for COVID-19 testing.
The UK however appears to have beaten the US to the number 2 position as it announced that the country will begin testing the use of drones in the fight against COVID-19.
UK’s Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps in a media briefing said the testing will begin in the coming week.
According to Mr Shapps at the press conference on Friday, April 24 2020, the testing initiative is part of a £28 million contract awarded to Southampton and Portsmouth for a future transport zone.
“So today I’m announcing a new package of measures to ensure transport boosts our national response to COVID-19. First, we’re announcing a far-reaching measure to safeguard the flow of essential goods into and across our country. The government has secured a tri-lateral agreement along with French and Irish Government which commits our nations to keep our trade routes open throughout this crisis bringing in life-saving medicine, food and many other essential goods to meet the needs of our country throughout this difficult period
“I’ve also given the green light to trails of drones to deliver medical supplies. Earlier this year, we awarded £28 million to Southampton and Portsmouth to deliver a future zone, as part of that initiative, £8 million was earmarked for testing drones…of course, now we have an urgent need, so we are making use of that testing program as part of our response to Covid-19,” Shapps said.
“As a result, I have fast-tracked trials to begin next week to carry medical supplies and equipment to St. Mary’s Hospital, near Newport on the Isle of Wight.”