Coronavirus: free testing campaign for residents begins in Sharjah

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - More than 250 people were tested for Covid-19 on the first day of a new screening campaign in Sharjah.

The 253 residents were screened using the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) nasal swab test at a temporary testing centre in Al Nahda on Sunday.

The free testing campaign, organised by Sharjah Police and the Ministry of Health and Prevention, will run until July 15 with the aim of screening as many people as possible.

“Instructions signs were set at the entrance and exits of the Al Nahda park and a self-sterilising gate was installed before entering the tent,” said Col Omar Al Ghazal, deputy director of the special tasks and president of the labour camp inspection committee.

“After checking the residents’ Emirates ID, the test is taken.”

A new and permanent testing site was been set up at Sharjah Expo in anticipation of more people coming to get tested in the next few weeks.

The centre can accommodate 3,000 visitors of all ages daily and has separate entrances for men and women.

Dr Sukhant Bagdia, a pulmonologist whose hospital handled 50 patients at the height of the outbreak, warned against all but essential travel this summer. Chris Whiteoak / The National

General practitioner Dr Sugandhna Malan processes travellers as they rush to get a test 48 hours before they fly. Chris Whiteoak / The National

NMC Royal Hospital in Investments Park had a dedicated ward for about 50 Covid-19 Dubai at the height of the outbreak. Today it has no virus patients. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Dr Nihas Salins, hospital administrator, said day to day operations are dominated by people looking to get tested before they fly. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Staff nurse Swetha Panayamthatta dressed in full PPE gear as a precaution. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Tests are collected and processed as fast as possible. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Dr Sugandhna Malan also sees a lot of commuters who need to be tested to enter Abu Dhabi. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Much of the hospital's work is testing prospective travellers looking to go on holiday this summer. Chris Whiteoak / The National

All Sharjah government employees were tested for free before they returned to offices in June. They were screened in a dedicated screening facility at the Sharjah Chess Club.

On Saturday, more than 71,000 additional tests for the coronavirus were carried across the country. It was the largest single daily number reported to date.

The UAE’s mass testing programme is part of the emirate’s early detection strategy, aimed at identifying, isolating and treating Covid-19 patients before they can spread the virus.

Coronavirus outbreak

Drive-through testing facilities have been set up across the country to test as many people as possible to find out if they have contracted the virus.

Abu Dhabi has carried out an extensive testing programme in its high-density areas like Mussaffah.

Last month, Dr Jamal Al Kaabi, acting undersecretary for Abu Dhabi’s Department of Health, said medics would work their way through densely populated areas of the emirate to offer free testing.

Updated: July 6, 2020 04:31 PM

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