UAE opens 4 new rapid COVID-19 testing facilities

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Updated 10 August 2020

UAE opens 4 new rapid COVID-19 testing facilities

  • The test centers, which offer the service for $14, use laser technology to provide a result in five minutes
  • COVID-19-negative test result will be required for students and school staff who are set to resume in-person classes in Sharjah

DUBAI: Four new rapid coronavirus testing facilities have been opened in the emirates of Dubai, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah, particularly for people who want to enter Abu Dhabi where a negative test result is required, national daily Khaleej Times reported.

The test centers, which offer the service for $14, use laser technology to provide a result in five minutes, but screenings can only be done through appointment.

The Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha) said people who want to get tested in these facilities – four of which are located in the UAE capital – will need to book an appointment through the Seha mobile application.

The laser test could suggest some people to take the traditional PCR screening, authorities said, which they can also avail at the same center.

Abu Dhabi earlier said it was mandatory for people to present a COVID-19-negative test result before entering the emirate. Border checks were put in place to regulate the movement of people.

Meanwhile, the private education authority of Sharjah said a COVID-19-negative test result will be required for students and school staff who are set to resume in-person classes by Aug. 30.

“All students, teachers and staff of all private schools will be tested for Covid-19 (ahead) ... of physically joining the school,” the Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA) said in a circular, adding testing could be carried out continuously throughout the new term.

“School principals should be aware of the COVID-19 test schedule, which would impact their operational reopening plan. This might result in teachers, staff and students joining their school in batches,” SPEA added.

The UAE Minister of Education earlier announced a COVID-19 test was mandatory for students and teachers returning to campus.


At least 13 people drown in migrant shipwreck off Libya

Updated 33 min 40 sec ago

At least 13 people drown in migrant shipwreck off Libya

  • The boat had set off from the town of Zliten, east of the Libyan capital of Tripoli
  • The Libyan Coast Guard said that it had ordered the rescue, and that search teams were scouring the area

CAIRO: Over a dozen migrants trying to reach Europe drowned in the Mediterranean Sea when their small dinghy capsized off the coast of Libya, the United Nations reported Friday, the latest shipwreck to underscore the deadly risks facing those who flee the war-afflicted North African country.
Libyan fishermen spotted the sinking boat late Thursday, said the International Organization for Migration, and managed to pull 22 people from the water, including those from Egypt, Bangladesh, Syria, Somalia and Ghana.
But at least 13 of the other passengers were missing and presumed drowned. Three dead bodies were found floating in the water, including one Syrian man and woman. The boat had set off from the town of Zliten, east of the Libyan capital of Tripoli, late on Wednesday.
The Libyan Coast Guard said that it had ordered the rescue, and that search teams were scouring the area for more victims.
“So many boats are leaving these days, but autumn is a very difficult season,” said Commodore Masoud Abdal Samad. “When it gets windy, it’s deadly. It changes in an instant.”
Following the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi, Libya has emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants hoping to get to Europe from Africa and the Middle East. Smugglers often pack desperate families into ill-equipped rubber boats that stall and founder along the perilous Central Mediterranean route. At least 20,000 people have died in those waters since 2014, according to the UN
Those who survived Friday’s disaster were taken to the Tripoli port, where they received medical care for their burns, a common consequence of leaked engine fuel mixing with saltwater, said Safa Msehli, an IOM spokeswoman.
Libyan authorities shepherded the survivors to the Zliten detention center, run by the Tripoli-based government’s Interior Ministry. Migrants rescued at sea and returned to Libya routinely land in detention centers notorious for torture, extortion and abuse. Amnesty International revealed in a report Thursday that thousands of migrants have been forcibly disappeared from unofficial militia-run detention centers.
The shipwreck, the second to be recorded by the UN in as many weeks, “signals the need now more than ever for state-led search and rescue capacity to be redeployed and the need to support NGO vessels operating in a vacuum,” said Msehli.
Since 2017, European countries, particularly Italy, have delegated most search-and-rescue responsibility to the Libyan Coast Guard, which intercepts migrant boats before they can reach European waters. Activists have lamented that European authorities are increasingly blocking the work of nongovernmental rescue organizations that patrol the Mediterranean and seek to disembark at European ports.