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Gulf News reporter Ali Al Shouk gets his COVID-19 nasal swab at Port Rashid Image Credit: Sonia Shah, Gulf News

Dubai: Khalil Ebrahim was worried when he arrived at Port Rashid’s drive-thru COVID-19 testing centre on Sunday because his father had just tested positive two days ago.

The Emirati had brought his children and other family members to the centre to check if they were infected as 20 people had been staying together in the same house as his father.

“It is an easy process,” he said. “I took an appointment for my children and came to the test centre in Dubai.

“It took less than ten minutes to finish the tests,” he added.

Follow Gulf News through a COVID-19 drive thru test centre Sonia Shah, Videographer, Ali Al Shouk, Senior Reporter

He put his youngest girl on his lap to conduct the test for her. She looked with innocent eyes at the nurse as she approached to take the nasal swab.

Ebrahim removed her dummy and she burst into tears as the cample was collected.

“They told me that I would receive the results in two days,” said Ebrahim. “I hope all my family members are in good health and not infected,” he added before driving away with the allowed maximum of three in a car in order to collect other family members from home.

Port Rashid test centre is one of 14 new drive-thru facilities across the UAE.

Tales from the coronavirus testing drive thru Sonia Shah, Videographer, Ali Al Shouk, Reporter

The centers were built by Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), on the orders of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, following the success of the first facility at Zayed Sports City.

Port Rashid centre is staffed by 40 qualified medical, nursing, technical and administrative workers who have been trained to test drive-through patients in less than five minutes.

When I approached the centre, I was told to put the radio on 104.6 FM to get the instructions of what to do.

A doctor took my temperature before asking me to drive to the next station for an identity check.

Test centres, how and where

I was given a hand sanitiser to clean my hands and register my name and phone number in two minutes.

Putting the mask and wearing gloves is a must in the centre.

A nurse came with her mask and took a nasal swab. It tickles like when you jump into a swimming pool and water shoots up your nose.

An uncomfortable feeling, the nurse told me that I would receive the results via text message and that I need to isolate myself for two days.

I put my mask again, and drove away thinking how important increased access to testing was to stopping the spread of coronavirus.

The UAE has been extremely proactive in the battle to curb COVID-19 and the drive-thru style, so synonymous with grabbing fast food, will now enable people to grab quicker results in the bid to stay safe.

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Temperatures are taken before driving into the facility Image Credit: Sonia Shah, Gulf News

How to book a COVID-19 test

To book a Covid-19 test, people must call 8001717 or use the Seha mobile app. Priority will be given to those with symptoms, the elderly, pregnant women and those who suffer from chronic diseases. Precautionary examinations cost Dh370, and payment is processed through the Seha app.

In Dubai, people can go to Port Rashid and the Al Khawaneej test centres.

The centres open from 10am until 6pm.

Capacity is 500 tests per day.