PCR tests for Covid-19 haven't dropped to Dh50 in most Dubai clinics

Most private screening centres still charging maximum of Dh150 and more for home-testing services

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Most coronavirus screening centres in Dubai have not cut prices to Dh50, with private clinics charging up to Dh150 ($40) per test on Tuesday.

At most hospitals and doctors' surgeries across the city, prices were unchanged.

On Monday, the Ministry of Health and Prevention set out a "nationwide" cap of Dh50 for nasal swab and saliva tests.

Dubai Health Authority did not respond to requests for clarification, but the authorities have set out a series of separate rules, including when pupils returned to schools on Sunday.

When The National called several clinics in Abu Dhabi, Ajman and Sharjah on Tuesday, staff confirmed that the price had been slashed in accordance with the new rules. Clinics and hospitals were ordered to deliver results to patients with 24 hours.

Screening tents operated by Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha) in Dubai, including centres in Mina Rashed, City Walk and Al Khawaneej, were offering the test for Dh50, however other private clinics in the city were not.

Mediclinic Parkview Hospital in Dubai South and Mediclinic Health Centre in Deira were still charging Dh150 for a PCR test at its drive-through and walk-in facilities.

Staff at Prime Medical in Motor City said prices at the clinic also remained at Dh150, with results turned around within 24 hours.

At the Mena Labs drive-through tent in Umm Suqeim, a staff member said PCR tests still cost Dh110 and results would be delivered within a day. Most home testing services, which involve a nurse taking a swab test in a private residence, were charging Dh170 to Dh200.

Several drive-through vaccine and screening centres in Dubai are run by Abu Dhabi's public hospital operator Seha, with the largest at Dubai Parks and Resorts in Jebel Ali.

Prices there were previously capped at Dh65 and are expected to be reduced in line with the latest ministry decision.

The Dh50 cap on tests came into effect as the government cut screening for Covid-19 to one of the lowest rates globally.

Health authorities have cut the price of PCR tests several times over the past 18 months to encourage more people to safeguard themselves against Covid-19 through regular testing.

The announcement by the Health Ministry came only a day after schools across the country welcomed pupils back to the classroom for in-person lessons.

In Abu Dhabi, pupils have been offered free PCR tests throughout the month of September. In other emirates, some schools have requested that pupils undergo regular PCR testing for the initial return-to-school phases to try to limit the spread of the virus on campus.

The UAE recorded 996 new Covid-19 infections on Tuesday as case numbers remained below 1,000 for the eighth day in a row.

The latest cases were detected as a result of another 329,146 PCR tests.

Updated: September 01, 2021, 11:18 AM