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Dubai Airport Opens Onsite Lab Capable of Processing 100,000 COVID-19 Tests Every Single Day

Dubai Airport Opens Onsite Lab Capable of Processing 100,000 COVID-19 Tests Every Single Day

Dubai International Airport (DXB) has opened a 20,000 square-foot in-house lab that is capable of processing as many as 100,000 COVID-19 tests every single day. The airport is hoping to put that capacity to the test in the coming months as Dubai gears up to welcome a surge in visitors as travel restrictions are slowly lifted.

The new lab has testing equipment capable of providing results from gold-standard polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) within just a few hours rather than having to be sent off to an off-site lab. Post arrival testing has become a key element of Dubai’s efforts to reopen its economy as safely as possible.

“The drastic change in travel norms and the introduction of travel protocols including PCR testing have changed the airport experience of travellers around the world,” explained the chairman of Dubai Airports, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who signalled that COVID-19 testing for travel would be here to stay for some time to come.

Dubai International Airport experimented with Covid sniffer dogs last year but health officials have decided to scale up PCR testing facilities rather than relying on other solutions which can be slightly less accurate.

Travellers from certain countries with low infection rates can skip pre-departure testing and simply take a test on arrival, while the testing facilities will be used as an extra layer of protection for arrivals from high-risk locations who need to take a test before flying to Dubai.

Passengers are then expected to quarantine until their test results come back negative – a process that wasn’t always very quick when samples had to be sent to an off-site lab.

Dubai airport reopened its mothballed Terminal 1 this week in anticipation of a pick up in travel demand, while Emirates is preparing to serve 90 per cent of its pre-pandemic network by the end of next month.

The road to recovery will, however, remain bumpy. Most arrivals from India remain banned until July at the earliest, while temporary flight bans from South Africa and Nigeria have recently been extended.

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