Five minute drive-through coronavirus testing centers open in UAE 

Special Five minute drive-through coronavirus testing centers open in UAE 
A member of medical staff wearing a protective face mask and gloves takes a swab from a man during drive-thru coronavirus disease testing at a screening center in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates April 12, 2020. (AN Photo)
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Updated 12 April 2020

Five minute drive-through coronavirus testing centers open in UAE 

Five minute drive-through coronavirus testing centers open in UAE 
  • The quick, contact-less tests are pre-booked and cost Dh370
  • More than 300 employees and volunteers built the testing centers over 10 days

SHARJAH: Thirteen new drive through and contact-less Covid-19 testing centers opened across the UAE on Sunday, following the successful test and trial of the first facility in Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi last month. 

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces inaugurated the country’s first drive-through center in Abu Dhabi on March 28, a few days before it opened to the public.

People who have pre-booked an appointment can drive through the self-pay centers for the five minute long tests. 

During the opening of one such center in Sharjah today, health officials said priority was given to pregnant women, the elderly and people who suffer from chronic diseases. The tests are free for this category.

Dr. Rowayya Al Mazrouie, a family medicine specialist told Arab News the test results took a few days coming in, with centers equipped with a daily testing capacity in the hundreds.

“All this takes a few minutes and the test results are delivered by SMS between 48 hours to five days,” Dr. Rowayya said. The center accepts 500 tests per day and is manned by 40 employees including admin and security.

“This is a self-pay center for Dh370 for whoever wants to make sure that they don’t have the virus,” she said.

The centers have a triage area where patients are triaged according to the symptoms and risk factors following which they drive through, have their fever checked and a nasal swab taken. 

Zakariya Hassan Mohammed Al Amiri who, like several others had come for a test said he wanted to protect his family.

“I have come here because I have people around me, my family, my friends at work and I want to keep them safe,” he said.

More than 300 employees and volunteers helped build the testing centers, which span a total area of 23,000 square meters, over a period of 10 days. The facilities all over the UAE are staffed by 630 qualified medical, nursing, technical and administrative workers who have been trained to test drive-through patients in less than five minutes.

The centers are built by SEHA (Abu Dhabi Health Services company) on the orders of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and are based in Ghayathi, Madinat Zayed (Al Dhafra), Al Bahia and Al Wathba in Abu Dhabi, Al Hili and Asharej in Al Ain, Port Rashid and Al Khawaneej in Dubai. Individual facilities have been built in Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah.

Dr. Farida Al Hosani, spokeswoman for the UAE health sector, had earlier said that the drive-through centers were a safe and quick way to test people because people remain isolated from members of the public in their cars. 

To book the test, people can call 8001717 or use the Seha mobile app.