Coronavirus: more laser-testing centres to open at Abu Dhabi entry points

An instant screening centre in Ghantoot has been in high demand, with more than 2,600 appointments made each day

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More rapid screening centres are to be set up at entry points to Abu Dhabi, officials said on Wednesday.

The first instant testing centre was launched on the border between Dubai and Abu Dhabi last week.

The test costs Dh50 and is available at the last exit on the Sheikh Zayed Road before the Ghantoot checkpoint.

The centre was met with high demand, with large crowds of commuters lining up to take the test, leading to it becoming appointment-only through an online booking site.

The facility set up to allow drivers - who require a negative Covid-19 test to enter Abu Dhabi - quick access to the capital by offering a Diffractive Phase Interferometry, or DPI, test that produces results within five minutes.

The test uses a laser technique to scan a blood sample for signs of surging red blood cells, which is an early sign the body is fighting off a virus.

The technique was developed by QuantLase Imaging Lab, which partially runs the site and is part of Abu Dhabi investment firm International Holdings Company (IHC).

The existing tent in Ghantoot has received about 2,600 booked appointments per day, said Abdullah Al Rashdi, spokesperson for Tamouh Healthcare, which is affiliated with the IHC.

Tamouh announced on Wednesday that it will set up more such tents across various access points to Abu Dhabi, in addition to a second centre that has already been set up in Ghantoot and is waiting to be officially inaugurated.

Locations of the other upcoming centres and the dates for their opening are yet to be confirmed, he said.

High demand for online appointments has left people waiting for up to 10 days for the next available slot, said Mr Al Rashdi.

“But once the new [second] tent opens, waiting time will be between one to two days,” he said.