UAE examines thousands for COVID-19, opens new drive-through test facilities

The UAE continues to be a world leader with the thousands tested for COVID-19. (File/Shutterstock)
Short Url
Updated 11 April 2020

UAE examines thousands for COVID-19, opens new drive-through test facilities

  • The UAE has tested 40,000 people in the last two days for COVID-19
  • There have been a further 13 drive-through test facilities opened in the UAE

DUBAI: The UAE has tested more than 49,000 people for the coronavirus in the last two days, the Ministry of Health and Prevention confirmed on Sunday.

The continued increase in tests led to the detection of 370 new cases in the country, bringing the total number of people infected in the UAE to 3,360.

The number of fatalities has increased after the death of two people - both who had pre-existing health conditions - bringing the death toll to 16, the ministry added.

Meanwhile there have been more people recovering from COVID-19, the latest being 150 people making a full recovery, bring that total to 418.

The UAE continues to open drive-through testing facilities in the country.

The Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, SEHA, opened 13 of the new faciltities.

“In collaboration with our strategic partners across the UAE, SEHA has equipped all drive-through centers with the most advanced testing systems, techniques and globally-accredited health care teams,” said Group Deputy Chief Executive Officer, SEHA, Rashid Al-Qubaisi.

He said that all centers were equipped with the latest in testing systems and medical devices.

“There are 630 of the most experienced and qualified medical professionals from SEHA’s network, staffing the centers,” he added.

The test at the drive-through facilities take five minutes.

There are seven drive-through testing centers have opened, so far, in Abu Dhabi, with three in Abu Dhabi City, Al Wathba and Al Bahia – they are open between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., from Sunday to Thursday.

There are also two in Al Ain in the Asharj and Al Hili areas.

People can book an appointment through the SEHA hotline on 800 1717 or alternatively the SEHA smartphone app.

Both callers and users of the app be asked a series of questions to help evaluate their condition, and then given an appointment for a test.

Al-Qubaisi said priority will be given to people exhibiting symptoms of the virus, or those most vulnerable to the infection including pregnant women, the elderly, people with disabilities and those suffering from chronic illnesses.

The test costs $100.


Resumed cargo flights: Thaw in Israel-Turkey ties?

Updated 25 May 2020

Resumed cargo flights: Thaw in Israel-Turkey ties?

  • Ankara’s involvement in Syria’s Idlib province against the Tehran-backed Assad regime has recently provided a common denominator for Turkey and Israel to reconcile
  • Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians remains a major irritant in relations with Ankara – Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday reiterated his support for the Palestinians

ISTANBUL: Israeli airline El Al has resumed cargo flights twice weekly between Tel Aviv and Istanbul for the first time in 10 years — a sign that decade-long bilateral tensions might be easing.
A cargo flight landed in Istanbul on Sunday morning to pick up humanitarian aid and protective equipment destined for US medical teams fighting COVID-19.
Burhanettin Duran, head of the Ankara-based think tank SETA, wrote that Turkey’s regional empowerment is “obliging Israel to search for normalization steps with Ankara.”
Dr. Nimrod Goren, head of the Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, said the cargo flight is a positive and visible development in bilateral relations that was probably approved by top government officials on both sides and required diplomatic efforts.
“However, the fact that this step takes place in parallel to a discussion about Israeli annexation in the West Bank, and to criticism of annexation by regional and international actors, might impact how it’s viewed in Turkey,” he told Arab News.
Goren said while the Israeli and Turkish governments continue to have significant policy differences, they should work to restore their relations to ambassadorial level, and to relaunch a strategic dialogue on regional developments of mutual interest.
“The forming of a new Israeli government, and the appointment of Gabi Ashkenazi as a new foreign minister, could be an opportunity to do so, and the cargo flight brings some positive momentum,” he added.
Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador in May 2018 after the US moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Ankara’s involvement in Syria’s Idlib province against the Tehran-backed Assad regime has recently provided a common denominator for Turkey and Israel to reconcile, as it also serves the latter’s strategic interests in weakening the Iranian presence in Syria.
But Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians remains a major irritant in relations with Ankara. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday reiterated his support for the Palestinians. 
In a video message on Twitter, he said the issue of Jerusalem “is a red line for all Muslims worldwide.”
He added that Israel’s “new occupation and annexation project … disrespects Palestine’s sovereignty and international law.”
Ryan Bohl, Middle East analyst at geopolitical-risk firm Stratfor, told Arab News: “Turkey is trying to create economic ties with Israel because … Erdogan is finding the political ground changed, caused in part by demographic changes as young Turks are less incensed by the Palestinian issue, and in part by a general weariness among Turks about putting too much skin in the game to solve the Palestinian question,” 
Israel is expected to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank on July 1 under the terms of a coalition government agreement. Ankara has strongly criticized the plan.
Israeli and Turkish officials are rumored to have held talks behind closed doors to reach a deal on maritime borders and exclusive economic zones in the eastern Mediterranean. 
Israel’s Foreign Ministry recently said it was “proud of our diplomatic relations with Turkey.”
But Goren said it is currently unlikely that Israel will advance a maritime demarcation deal with Turkey as it would shake several regional balances at the same time.
“It will put in jeopardy, and run in contrast to, the important alliances in the eastern Mediterranean that Israel has fostered in recent years with Greece, Cyprus and Egypt,” he added.