In a first, a coronavirus sample of a suspected patient in an Estonian island was aerially delivered by a drone to a testing center located in the mainland, on Thursday.
The mission was undertaken by the North Estonia Medical Center (PERH), Hiiumaa Hospital and Threod Systems for quick delivery from Hiiumaa island to Tallinn city situated 12 nautical miles away.
A ferry journey between the same two points would have taken over an hour, but the drone reduced the time to just 27 minutes, local media reported.
"In the current, and future, sudden epidemics, the conduct of fast clinical surveys is essential, to be able to direct assistance to where it is needed most," said Meelis Roosimägi, head of the PERH hospital network.
"Our healthcare infrastructure is quite good already; samples from different corners of the mainland reach labs with better capabilities in one-and-a-half hours. There are problems, however, when it comes to the various islands off the coast of Estonia. The sea makes all journeys long, and often makes deliveries dependent on ferry schedules. This is not just with the big islands, but also the small islands, where there are no local medical services," he explained.