Coronavirus: Almost 3,000 Covid-19 tests conducted at drive-through facility in Abu Dhabi

The facility is open daily from 8am to 8pm but requires an appointment

YAS ISLAND, ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - March 28, 2020: HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces (in vehicle) visits the mobile COVID-19 Test Center by SEHA, at Yas island.

( Mohamed Al Hammadi / Ministry of Presidential Affairs )

A drive-through coronavirus testing facility in Abu Dhabi has conducted almost 3,000 tests since it opened this week.

The centre, in Zayed Sports City, opened on Wednesday and has since tested 2,934 people for the virus by processing samples swabbed from their nose or throat.

The facility, managed by Abu Dhabi Health Services company, Seha, is open daily from 8am to 8pm and can test at least 600 people a day.

The centre was inaugurated and the process demonstrated by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, on March 28, a few days before the facility opened to the public.

Following the centre's success, it was announced that more drive-through testing facilities will open across the country to test people in a safe and quick way.

Centres will be set up in Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Al Ain and Al Dhafra.

Dr Farida Al Hosani, spokeswoman for the UAE health sector, said the centres were a safe way to test people because they did not entail visiting a hospital, reducing the risk of contamination.

She said the test took only about five minutes to conduct, which allows health workers to examine more people.

The results typically take between 24 and 48 hours to process but can take up to 7 days, The National has learnt, and patients must self-isolate until they receive their diagnosis.

The centres prioritise testing for the elderly, people with underlying health conditions, those presenting symptoms of Covid-19 and pregnant women.

An appointment must be made before visiting the centre and Dr Al Hosani called on the public not to rush to get tested if they were not displaying symptoms of a respiratory illness.

Visit the Department of Health's website for more information or contact them on the Estijaba (Response) toll-free service 8001717, in case of a suspected Covid-19 infection.

On Thursday, the department said Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City, Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi, and Tawam Hospital in Al Ain would continue to operate as usual and would not receive suspected coronavirus cases nor influenza patients.

In collaboration with Seha, Al Rahba Hospital and Al Ain Hospital have been dedicated to isolating and treating Covid-19 patients.