UAE's drive-thru Covid-19 testing facility can screen hundreds daily


Abu Dhabi - 'Process takes between three to five minutes from registration to screening'


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Tue 31 Mar 2020, 12:50 AM

A new drive-through testing facility for Covid-19 that was opened on Saturday in Abu Dhabi can screen hundreds of people daily without them having any direct contact with healthcare workers. Dr Nourah Al Gaithi, chief operations officer at the Ambulatory Healthcare Services, Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha), told Khaleej Times that the centre will help diagnose patients faster.
"This unique facility allows for the early diagnosis of people infected with the virus and to quickly trace the people they had been in touch with." She said the results will be delivered within hours.
Those who test positive for the coronavirus will be immediately transferred to hospitals. The official said the facility in the Capital's Zayed Sports City, prevents contact with a health worker conducting the tests as well as other people visiting the facility for diagnosis.
"The facility offers convenience to the elderly, pregnant women and people at high risk of contracting communicable diseases," said Al Gaithi.
"The process takes between three to five minutes from registration using the Emirates ID to screening. The person will then leave without any direct exposure or contact with others and this will significantly reduce the spread of the infection."
Residents will receive their results via SMS and Seha app. Dr Mishal Al Kasimi, CEO of Capital Health and Health Shield Medical Centre in Abu Dhabi, said the new facility is safe and convenient.
"It can test many people within a short period of time in a less crowded manner, and there are lower risks of infection because it's done inside the car," said Al Kasimi. He said it will be a relief for hospitals that conduct the tests. Seha said the UAE has become the fifth nation in the world to implement a drive-through service and the facility will accelerate testing times for the nation's population.
South Korea was the first country to build such a facility. In the US, the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle had also set up a drive-through clinic in its parking lot for its employees.
Dr Al Gaithi noted that unlike other facilities elsewhere in the world, the UAE's drive-through facility can test over 600 people within 12 hours. She explained that the facility has four entry paths from which patients can arrive. All testing is conducted within the car, with patients remaining seated.

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