Coronavirus: online booking service launched for Abu Dhabi laser testing centre

The rapid screening service is now available by appointment only to help meet strong demand from the public

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A new online booking service has been launched to meet the "high demand" for a rapid screening centre set up on the border between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The new service, which opened this week, intends to give drivers quick access to the capital by offering a Diffractive Phase Interferometry, or DPI, test that produces results within five minutes.

The test, which costs Dh50, uses a laser technique to scan a blood sample for signs of surging red blood cells, which is an early indication 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).

How to book a test

Authorities have announced the screening facility will now be available by appointment only.

The booking service is available here.

People must enter their Emirates ID and phone number and provide their name, nationality and city they live in.

The move comes after lengthy queues of vehicles disrupted the traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road on Wednesday when scores of drivers attempted to visit the newly opened centre.

Second screening centre on the way

On Wednesday, officials unveiled plans to set up a second instant screening centre on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai border.

The facility is expected to be built in time for the weekend to help reduce waiting times for motorists, who need to take a Covid-19 test to be allowed into the capital.

Abdullah Al Rashdi, spokesperson of Tamouh Healthcare, which is affiliated to the IHC, said the second facility will be used to exclusively screen families driving to Abu Dhabi and the first will be dedicated to testing individuals. Each centre can accommodate up to 2,000 people a day and more facilities are being considered across the country.

The DPI test offered at the border is not as definitive as the PCR nasal swab – but the results take less than a minute, instead of hours or days with the PCR.