COVID drive through
Al Futtaim COVID-19 test drive thru in Festival City Image Credit: Sankha Kar, Gulf News

Dubai: The first five minute drive through testing centre set up by Al Futtaim Health at Festival City since March 29, is already conducting anything between 100-200 COVID-19 nasal swab tests per day. The testing facility is free for all Al Futtaim’s 20,000 employees and open for the eligible UAE residents at Dh 370 which is the cost price of the test.

Al Futtaim Health is rolling out its own drive-thru testing stations at six different locations - Silicon Oasis, Al Ghusais, International City, Discovery Gardens, Al Warqa and of course, Festival City will go live for members of the general public by Tuesday April 7.

These are expected to build up capacity of close to 1,000 tests per day once launched.

In addition, during such challenging times, Al Futtaim Health is supporting other healthcare providers technically and operationally as they manage the COVID-19 pandemic by using the collective expertise of its healthcare professionals and putting it at the service of the UAE, its citizens, and residents.

Elaborating on this initiative, Dr Haidar Al Yousuf, Managing Director of Al Futtaim Health said: “We want to do our part in sharing the healthcare burden at this time of crisis, our aim is to help by testing thousands of members of our community.”

He added: “For us to be as effective as possible we ask everyone to complete the online self-assessment on the HealthHub website to assess their eligibility so that these critical health serv amon gother centices are prioritised to those who need them the most.”

In addition to the drive thru testing stations initiative the Al Futtaim Group has converted some of its buildings into self-isolation and quarantine centres.

Dr Al Yousef concluded by saying: “the evidence is that testing and early identification of the infection, isolation of affected patients, and contact tracing is the most important strategy for flattening the curve and reducing the rate of infection in our community and that’s what we are doing. At this time, we must do all that we can to help our fellow citizens.”

Who is eligible for the test?

The centre will carry out screening as per the international guidelines issued by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and used by UAE health authorities.

This includes anyone who is symptomatic (Cough or fever or shortness of breath), has had close contact with a confirmed or suspected Covid19 case, or a travel history within the last 14 days. In addition, testing will be available for particularly vulnerable groups including: pregnant women, people above the age of 65, or those with comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes, cardio vascular diseases, or those with a compromised immune system such as cancer and a history of taking immune-suppressants and severe acute respiratory illness.