India’s postal service turns saviour during COVID-19 lockdown

India Post, the largest postal service in the world, is delivering life-saving medicines during the coronavirus lockdown.

To stop the spread of the coronavirus, India went into complete lockdown on 24 March as 1.7 billion people stayed at home with only essential services allowed to operate. The announcement, made just four hours ahead of the lockdown, left a lot of industries in the lurch, particularly hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and labs who are at the forefront of this fight against COVID-19.

“We were facing a lot of difficulties. We usually rely on courier services to send out products to customers, but none of them were responding, probably because they didn’t have curfew passes or delivery people,” Ashok Kumar Madan, the executive director of the Indian Drug Manufacturer’s Association (IDMA), told the BBC.

The postal service had already partnered with the IDMA in the western state of Gujarat to deliver medicines and equipment as a priority. But then, Alok Ojha, the senior superintendent of the postal service in Uttar Pradesh, came forward to do the same on a much wider scale.

“We thought we could help with this as we have a supply chain that is intact. Many people I spoke to said this would help as it helps keep drugs in the market and prevents hoarding,” Mr Ojha told the BBC.

“We were definitely looking for a solution, and the postal service has unhindered access the country,” Mr Madan explained.

With the lockdown set to be extended, the world’s largest postal service will play a larger role in the weeks ahead.

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