Coronavirus: first glimpse into Abu Dhabi's mass testing campaign

The emirate is currently screening all workers living in Mussaffah, an industrial area on the outskirts of the capital

A man gets tested for the COVID-19 virus inside a testing facility in Mussaffah. 
Between warehouses in the heart of Abu Dhabi’s industrial city,  men are lining up to be checked for Covid-19.

(Photo: Reem Mohammed/The National)

Reporter: Haneen Dajani
Powered by automated translation

Authorities in Abu Dhabi have given members of the public a first glimpse into the logistics of coordinating a mass Covid-19 testing campaign.

Officials in the emirate are currently screening all workers living in Mussaffah, an industrial area on the outskirts of the capital.

The campaign started on Monday and is free of charge.

While localised sanitisation and testing initiatives have been ongoing in the neighbourhood for some time, the new drive ensures all residents will be tested.

The huge operation is being coordinated from an Abu Dhabi Police command centre, which is staffed around the clock.

Abu Dhabi Police open operations centre in Mussaffah

Abu Dhabi Police open operations centre in Mussaffah

“It operates 24/7 to answer and respond to all incoming phone calls from individual callers, companies and workers’ accommodation,” said First Colonel Fadel Ghadier Alshamsi in a video released by the Abu Dhabi Government Media Office.

“The centre is staffed with an interpreter who can respond to callers of Asian nationalities.”

The video shows police checking with those living in worker accommodation to establish if anyone still needs to be screened.

“We first do an onsite assessment to see if the case is critical or not,” said First Lieutenant Abdullah Mohammad Saleh, liaison officer of the quarantine operating room.

“If critical, they will be referred directly to hospital. If they are in a stable condition, we refer them to quarantine centres.”

More than 120,000 workers living in Mussaffah have already been tested by authorities in recent weeks.

The new campaign is being conducted in phases, block by block. Free transportation is also provided to take workers from their accommodation to testing centres.