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K9 dog sniffs at a COVID sample at Dubai international Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A row of boxes, containing samples from travellers arriving at Dubai International Airport, are carefully arranged for inspection. A K9 police dog enters the isolated room and sniffs around. He sits in front of a box, alerting his trainer that the box contains the sample of a person infected with COVID-19.

The new exercise, implemented by the UAE Ministry of Interior, uses K9 dogs to detect COVID-19 cases is still in the trial stage. The K9 unit at Dubai Police has already conducted 400 tests in the last three weeks at Dubai Airport and the results have been impressive, an official said.

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According to the results, the detection of presumed COVID-19 cases achieved approximately 91 per cent in overall accuracy.

Major Salah Khalifa Al Mazrouei, director of Dubai Police Security Inspection K9 Unit, said that an area has been dedicated to detect the cases using K9 police dogs at the airport.

“Samples are taken in collaboration with partners from Dubai Health Authority from travellers and dogs sniff them to detect the virus. If the sample turns out positive, the dog will sit in front of it. It only takes a few minutes,” Maj Al Mazroui said.

He said dogs are able to detect traces of COVID-19 from human scent. The collected samples are then sniffed out by the dogs without coming in contact with the persons, with results being known on the spot.

All police departments in the UAE are working to use the method at all airports to reduce passengers’ waiting times and curb the spread of coronavirus after taking the necessary precautionary measures to protect both K9 police dogs and their trainers.

“The UAE is the first in the world to use K9 police dogs. We are in direct contact with experts in UK and France to train our dogs in detecting the virus,” Maj Al Mazroui said.

Moreover, Major General Abdullah Ali Al Ghaithi, Director of the General Department of Protective Security and Emergency at Dubai Police, said that police trials will be discussed in an international K9 event organised by Dubai Police to discuss about K9 and how to use the dogs in various fields.

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Top police officials addressing the media in Dubai earlier this week Image Credit: Supplied

The event will held remotely on August 16, where dog owners and experts will discuss different angles like using K9 dogs in detecting drugs, explosives and rescue operations.

“K9 dogs can be used in solving crimes, detecting drugs and explosives and check the traces of missing people,” Maj Gen Al Gaithi said.