Drive-thru coronavirus testing in UAE: swab and go

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Abu Dhabi (AFP)

A drive-through coronavirus screening centre in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi has become a go-to destination for many wanting reassurance during the pandemic.

The facility, believed to be the first of its kind in the Gulf, greets around 600 people a day in the 12 hours it is in service.

The test is free for the elderly, pregnant women and anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19. Others can get tested for 370 dirhams ($100).

A nurse approaches the car to take the passengers' temperatures and then takes a nasal swab -- a five-minute procedure.

"It is safer than going to the hospital, which is scary these days, especially for children," said Mohammed Abdullah al-Thahnani, who took his family to get tested after a 14-day quarantine upon arriving from abroad.

"We came to the centre for reassurance before we see the rest of our family," said the father of two.

Within two days, Thahnani will receive the results via text message.

Another visitor, 30-year-old Abdullah, said the procedure was "more comfortable" than going to the hospital.

"I sat in my car comfortably, with the airconditioning, and felt nothing except a small poke in my nose," he told AFP.

The UAE has so far recorded more than 1,000 infections -- with 96 recovered -- and eight deaths due to the disease.

The authorities said they plan to roll out a number of screening centres across the seven emirates.