Dubai: Pure Health, a UAE-based laboratory operator, assigned by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) to conduct PCR tests for passengers entering the country’s airports prior to their departure, has a network of 500 laboratories across the world, with more being added every day, Gulf News has learnt.
On July 23, Thursday, the UAE announced that starting August 1, everyone arriving in the UAE would have to undergo a pre-departure mandatory COVID-19 PCR test. Citizens, residents, tourists and transit passengers, regardless of the country they are flying in from, will have to get the test done before they board the plane. Further, it was announced that the decision to apply prior testing on all those coming to the country will be applied without impingement on the mandatory testing measures that travellers have to follow upon arrival at the country’s airports.
Maria El Houari, International Passenger Screening Project Manager at Pure Health, told Gulf News: “Pure Health’s 118 laboratories are only located in the UAE. All the international laboratories in question are our approved network, that we specifically partnered with for the pre-flight passengers screening project. So far, we have enlisted over 500 labs across the world. Out of those, 40 are across India and the number keeps on increasing by the day,” she said.
El Houari explained that, “The international laboratories empanelled within our portal have gone through an extensive vetting exercise to ensure we have the best laboratories providing the service to the passengers. They had to be accredited and approved by their governing authorities to conduct the PCR COVID-19 tests, follow-ing international quality standards, an external quality control programme, having a robust IT system in place and many other features to ensure that all the results gen-erated are actual results and do not include any false negatives or false positives.”
She said Pure Health is in the process of enlisting a testing laboratory in Mumbai in the coming days.
In response to concerns by several UAE residents that the approved labs are too few and spread out, she said: “We have been working relentlessly round the clock to ensure passengers have a smooth experience. However, keeping in mind how important these tests are for the safety of the nation, we cannot compromise on the quality of tests. The vetting process is extremely vigorous and detailed. In addition, owing to the current global pandemic, it is harder for laboratories across the world to cope with their capacity. "
She said, "There are a number of scattered small laboratories trying to profit from the situation and so we have to be extra vigilant vetting the laboratories we empanel. We have had to make sure the labs partnering with us use ap-proved testing techniques and equipment to avoid false results and also to ensure that they have the shortest turn-around time, which is the tie required for a lab to release the results. That being said, our Mumbai partners have already been ap-proved and they will be present on the portal within the coming days, not only that, we have new laboratories across the world empanelled every day.”