Coronavirus: inside new high-speed DPI testing centre on Dubai-Abu Dhabi border

New system of 18 cabins allows drivers to get Dh50 finger-prick blood test in minutes as they remain in their cars

A new system to test commuters for Covid-19 before they enter Abu Dhabi is set to cut queues and save drivers time and money.

Tamouh Healthcare said its network of testing cabins unveiled on Saturday will allow drivers to be tested by a medic as they remain in their car.

Eighteen drive-through stations have replaced a large tent that was set up in the summer.

Anyone entering Abu Dhabi must produce a negative test result.

It is a better service and the location is ideal for the public

The cabins are in Al Faya Road, at a turn-off from the E11 Dubai-Abu Dhabi motorway, near Ghantoot village

“This will [help] to ease the flow of traffic entering the emirate and will meet the screening needs of the public,” said Abdullah Al Rashdi, a spokesman for the healthcare company.

“We can and do meet the needs of the same amount of visitors that we were receiving at Ghantoot,” he said.

Medics use a method called diffractive phase interferometry, which uses a laser to scan a small sample of blood for signs that the body is fighting a virus.

In contrast to the more thorough PCR nasal swab, which can take a day to return results, the DPI is ready within minutes.

The results are valid for 72 hours, meaning one test would be enough to commute on two or three successive days.

The Dh50 test is cheaper than a PCR test, which typically costs Dh85 in a government medical centre or Dh150 at private hospitals.

The 18 stations can cater to 36 cars at any one time.

Open 24 hours per day, they are staffed by 250 personnel who were previously at the Ghantoot tent.

There are booths on both directions of the motorway.

This would allow a driver to get tested on the way home to Dubai in the evening and not have to queue to return to Abu Dhabi the next morning.

“It is a better service and the location is ideal for the public," Mr Al Rashdi, whose company runs the service for the government.

He said there are plans to open a smaller DPI testing centre in Al Bahia, near Deerfields Mall on the approach road to Abu Dhabi city.