Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid-19: Dubai shuts travel agency for selling PCR test services on WhatsApp

Staff Report/Dubai
Filed on February 19, 2021
KT file photo: Shihab

Medical facilities licensed by the Ministry of Health & Prevention and Dubai Health Authority only allowed to offer PCR tests.

Dubai Economy on Thursday shut down a travel agency in the Business Bay area for selling Covid-19 PCR tests and promoting the service secretly through WhatsApp.

Only competent medical facilities licensed by the Ministry of Health & Prevention (Mohap) and Dubai Health Authority (DHA) are allowed to offer PCR testing services in Dubai.

Authorities investigated the travel agency after receiving a complaint from a consumer, expressing unhappiness at the quality of Covid-19 home inspection service provided.

The travel agent was discovered to be using a WhatsApp business account, through which it asked customers to select an appropriate date, fill in their data, and attach copies of passports via an electronic link provided, before paying for the test online.

The agency was immediately shut down and DHA was provided with information related to the laboratories that co-operated with the violator.

Abdulaziz Al Tannak, Director of the Commercial Control Department at Dubai Economy, said: “The inspection teams from the Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection Sector monitor the markets and carefully investigate any observations we receive from consumers to ensure that commercial establishments adhere to the laws as applicable."

He added that they do so to preserve consumer rights and safety, "particularly during times like these", which require concerted efforts to limit the spread of Covid-19.

"We will not hesitate to take action against any commercial establishment trying to exploit the prevailing pandemic situation, and we ask all commercial establishments to abide by the relevant laws and regulations," Al Tannak said. "Our inspection teams continue to conduct intensive field monitoring campaigns across the emirate."

Dubai Economy has urged the public to report negative practices or violations of Covid-19 precautionary guidelines through the Dubai Consumer App available on Apple, Google and Huawei stores, by calling 600545555, or via the website.

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