Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 30 May 2020

Coronavirus: Dubai opens first drive-through Covid-19 testing facility

Two more centres are expected to open in Al Khawaneej and Port Rashid

A drive-through coronavirus testing centre opens at Al Maktoum Stadium, also known as Al Nasr Sports Club, in Dubai. Courtesy Dubai Media Office
A drive-through coronavirus testing centre opens at Al Maktoum Stadium, also known as Al Nasr Sports Club, in Dubai. Courtesy Dubai Media Office

Dubai’s first drive-through coronavirus testing centre opened at Al Nasr Club on Tuesday.

Up to 250 Covid-19 tests a day, all free of charge, can be performed at the Oud Metha centre.

Bookings must be made in advance to avoid crowding.

Priority will be given to anyone displaying symptoms of a respiratory illness, and to people vulnerable to contracting Covid-19 or suffering its worst symptoms.

These include people with disabilities and those who are elderly, pregnant or have underlying health conditions.

Each test takes about five minutes.

The centre will open from 8am to 6.30pm and tests will be carried out while the driver or passenger is seated in the car.

The procedure involves a temperature check and nasal swab, and results take up to 48 hours to process.

Two more centres managed by Dubai Health Authority are expected to open in the emirate, in Port Rashid and at Al Khawaneej, near the emirate’s border with Sharjah.

Anyone who wishes to book an appointment must also apply for a permit to leave their home and should arrive wearing a mask and gloves.

A nurse uses a swab to test the passenger of a car for Covid-19, at a drive-through verification centre in Abu Dhabi on April 2, 2020. AFP
A nurse uses a swab to test the passenger of a car for Covid-19, at a drive-through verification centre in Abu Dhabi on April 2, 2020. AFP

The number of passengers in a vehicle cannot exceed three and, if stopped, motorists must show police their permit and message from the authority, indicating they have a test booked.

If stopped by police, people are advised to show their appointment confirmation text message.

If photographed by a speed camera, which are being used to register people who leave their homes during the lockdown, the text message can be used as proof of a valid reason for leaving home.

If tested positive, patients are advised to isolate themselves at home. The authority will contact them for further procedures.

If not contacted within 24 hours after receiving the positive result, they should call the hotline.

The country’s first drive-through testing centre, at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi, was inaugurated by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, on March 28, a few days before it opened to the public.

Sheikh Mohamed underwent a coronavirus test and, after the first centre’s success, ordered more drive-through centres to be opened across the country.

Dr Farida Al Hosani, spokeswoman for the UAE health sector, said the drive-through centres were a safe and quick way to test people.

The Abu Dhabi centre, which is open from 8am to 8pm daily, can conduct 600 tests a day and results take between 24 and 48 hours to process.

Updated: April 8, 2020 02:09 AM

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