Emirates' testing site
Emirates' testing site Image Credit: Supplied

As Dubai-based carrier Emirates begins to repatriate expats, it joins hands with Dubai Health Authority (DHA) to ensure smooth transportation with maximum safety for all.

Additional precautions were introduced on Wednesday for passengers flying to Tunisia, who not only underwent thermal screening but also a COVID-19 test before departing from Dubai. Emirates has become the first airline to conduct on-site rapid COVID-19 tests for passengers.

How does it work?

A blood sample is collected on site by properly attired staff in the group check-in area of Dubai International Terminal 3.

The blood is then tested – the reports are made available in 10 minutes.

Adel Al Redha, Emirates Chief Operating Officer, said: "The testing process has gone smoothly and we would like to take this opportunity to thank the Dubai Health Authority for their initiatives and innovative solutions. This would have not been possible without the support of Dubai Airport and other government authorities.

“We are working on plans to scale up testing capabilities in the future and extend it to other flights, this will enable us to conduct on-site tests and provide immediate confirmation for Emirates passengers travelling to countries that require COVID-19 test certificates. The health and safety of staff and passengers at the airport remain of paramount importance."

Humaid Al Qutami, Director-General of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), said: "We are glad to work with Emirates on the successful implementation of rapid COVID-19 testing at the airport for departing travellers. To tackle COVID-19, we have been proactively working with various governmental organisations and the private health sector and we have implemented all necessary measures from public health protection to provision of high-quality health services in line with the latest international guidelines. We believe strongly that the most effective solutions require close partnerships with other public and private sector organisations."

More gatekeeping

All checking-in and other formalities before boarding a plane have also been adapted to be in line with social distancing protocols. Protective barriers have been installed at each check-in counter. Gloves, masks and hand sanitisers have been made mandatory for all employees at the airport; flyers are also required to wear masks at the airport and while flying to minimize risk of coronavirus spread.

Currently Emirates is operating a limited number of passenger flights to carry travellers outbound from the UAE to some destinations.

The flights are operating from Dubai to London Heathrow (four times weekly); Frankfurt (thrice-weekly); Jakarta (15 April); Tunis (15 April); Manila (15 and 16 April); Algiers (16 April); Taipei (18 April); and Chicago (18 April).