Abu Dhabi: Families seeking rapid tests to enter Abu Dhabi need not pre-book their appointments, an official at the Ghantoot testing facility has said.
“We are open 24 hours a day, and continue to prioritise families, who do not have to book an appointment online before coming in for the test,” Ahmed Al Reyami, supervisor at the facility told Gulf News.
The rapid testing facility for COVID-19 at the Abu Dhabi-Dubai border has seen massive demand for its services since its launch. It offers commuters an easier, more convenient entry into the emirate by providing quick tests that allow them to prove they are free of COVID-19.
Over the Eid holiday, officials are expecting to hit full testing capacity.
“We see about 6,500 people on a daily basis, going up to 8,000 on weekends. We expect up to 10,000 people to pass through the tent every day during the Eid break,” Al Reyami said.
Since its launch, the convenient testing method has seen throngs of people queueing up to get tested so they can enter Abu Dhabi emirate. An online booking service therefore been introduced to streamline the number of people showing up for the test, and everyone, other than families, must pre-book their visit. However, in recent days, residents have reported being unable to find slots for the upcoming two weeks.
“In about a few days, this problem will be resolved. In addition, after Eid, three more testing centres will open up – two on the Dubai-Al Ain road and one on Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Road,” Al Reyami said.
Abu Dhabi restrictions
Abu Dhabi emirate has had movement restrictions in place since May, which prevent residents from entering unless they can provide a negative COVID-19 result. The rapid testing facility was devised as an easier means to obtain COVID-19 test results.
It uses a laser-based technique, known as Diffractive Phase Interferometry (DPI), to detect virus-caused inflammation markers in the blood. The testing technique, which produces results within minutes, was developed by Abu Dhabi-based QuantLase Imaging Lab, a medical arm of investment firm, International Holding Company, and the tent in Ghantoot is operated by Tamouh Healthcare.
Quick and affordable
Compared to the traditional COVID-19 PCR tests that are priced at Dh370, the rapid DPI tests cost much less at just Dh50.
“The process is really quick, and if there are no queues, it takes only four to five minutes per person. We have 46 tables for testing at this facility, and 264 points in the queue where people can wait in line while maintaining social distancing,” Al Reyami said.
People who test negative are allowed to proceed into Abu Dhabi. Those who test positive have to undergo a PCR test via a nasal swab, which is also available at the Ghantoot tent, and await a negative result that will allow them to enter Abu Dhabi. Al Reyami said the PCR test results are available within 24 to 48 hours.
Every day, the biggest rush is from 4 to 6pm, but police personnel are onsite to guide vehicles to parking areas first, and then the tent.
What you need to get the test done
Al Reyami clarified that the rapid test is available only to UAE residents, as an Emirates ID is required for registration.
“We do not accept passports when people register for the tests,” he said.