Abu Dhabi: The Health Authority Abu Dhabi (Haad) has instructed all health facilities in the emirate not to charge for testing for the H1N1 strain of influenza, also known as swine flu.

Circular number CEO 46/09 was sent on September 15 and distributed to hospitals across Abu Dhabi.

"Collection of any fee for the above would therefore be considered a violation of the health regulations in the emirate," said the circular, which was signed by the Haad chief executive officer.

In spite of several calls made to Haad in an effort to confirm when the directive will come into effect, Gulf News was not able to reach anyone because Tuesday was the last day of the Eid holidays.

However, Dr Ali Shakar, undersecretary at the ministry, told reporters that H1N1 testing and diagnosis should be performed free of charge across the country.