Covid in UAE: Demand for at-home PCR testing services rises amid surge in cases

Doctors are recommending drive-through services, as they ensure quick collection and delivery of results

By SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Fri 21 Jan 2022, 5:53 PM

Last updated: Fri 21 Jan 2022, 10:23 PM

With the recent surge in Covid-19 cases, demand for at-home PCR testing services has seen a sharp increase in the UAE.

Doctors say the surge is likely because residents are being more responsible and trying to ensure they remain isolated in case they test positive.

Dr Fiaz Ahamed, infection control manager, Thumbay University Hospital, said at-home PCR sample collection has helped family members of close contacts and the elderly avoid long queues and get tested from the comfort of their own homes.

"We are receiving an overwhelming number of requests for home testing, and therefore, we are recommending drive-through PCR testing to the community, because it ensures faster collection and delivery of results," said Dr Ahamed.

NMC Medical Centre in Deira offers at-home sample collection through its home healthcare services, but has not seen nearly enough demand. Rather, Dr Dinesh Shukla, medical director, NMC Medical Centre, said most people preferred drive-through services.

"We are getting a very high number of requests due to the surge in infections, mostly from families who don't want to wait at the clinic or hospital," he said.


Dr Shukla said the cost of at-home sample collection in Dubai depends on the location and may range from Dh100 to Dh120, with results available within 24 hours.

Thumbay University Hospital provides PCR sample collection at home in the northern Emirates for Dh100 with an additional Dh100 for home services.

"But if it's a group, say 10 people, we can reduce the home services fee to Dh250 for the entire group, with results being provided within six to eight hours," said Dr Ahamed.

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