Coronavirus: free tests for Emiratis starting next week under directive of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed

The initiative will also include the domestic workers of citizens, disabled people, pregnant women, and residents over the age of 50 who do not show symptoms

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The UAE government has announced all Emiratis in the country will be tested for the coronavirus free of charge from next week.

Until now, the tests were free only for those who showed Covid-19 symptoms and people in high-risk categories.

The new initiative, under the directive of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, will cover all citizens and their domestic workers whether they exhibit symptoms or not, read a joint statement from the Ministry of Health and Prevention and the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority.

Disabled people, pregnant women, and residents over the age of 50 will also be tested free.

Those who show symptoms or have been in contact with positive cases will not be charged for the test.

Everyone else must pay a Dh370 fee through the Seha app.

The UAE is mass testing people for coronavirus to identify undiagnosed cases and asymptomatic patients.

The extensive testing programmes aims to end the outbreak by tracing and isolating new cases and their contacts. More than 1.3 million tests have been carried out so far.

Those who wish to get tested can book at any of the 14 drive-through testing centres across the country.

In Abu Dhabi, there are testing centres in Ghayathi, Madinat Zayed, Al Wathba, Zayed Sports City, Al Bahia, and Al Hili and Asharej in Al Ain.

In Dubai, there are drive-through centres in Al Khawaneej, Port Rashid, Al Nasr Club, Dubai Festival City, Al Qusais, Silicon Oasis, Discovery Gardens, Al Warqa and International City.

There are also testing centres in each of the five other emirates.

Symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, difficulty in breathing, coughing, headache and a sore throat.

“In addition to the symptoms, they check if you had a recent travel trip or had close contact with an infected person or anyone suspected of being infected,” said the Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre.