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Coronavirus: UAE opens state of the art drive-through testing facility

The facility is said to be able to treat 600 people a day, with priority given to those most at risk
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed opened the new drive-through facility (Social media)

A drive-through coronavirus testing facility has been launched by the United Arab Emirates as part of its efforts to fight the disease, the Abu Dhabi government’s media office announced.

The facility will provide safe screening within five minutes, using the latest technology and highly-qualified staff, it said.

"A new drive-through testing facility for COVID-19 has launched ... to offer safe testing procedures," the office said on Twitter Saturday.

Images circulating on social media show the drive-through in action with signs asking drivers to tilt back their head so that a nurse can take a nose swab. 

In another image a nurse wearing a face mask and blue gloves is seen taking a sample from the nose of no less than Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, who also inaugurated the facility.

The facility can serve 600 people a day, with priority given to the elderly, the pregnant and those with underlying health problems.

The government media officer urged people to book an appointment in advance. Tests "for the wider community for reassurance only" would cost 370 dirhams ($100), according to government advice on Twitter.

Thus far the UAE has 468 confirmed cases, including two deaths and has put into place restrictions on night movements and asked people to go outdoors only if necessary. The Gulf state has also closed its borders and halted passenger flights.

Those breaking the regulations can expect to receive fines ranging from $272 to $13,600, according to a list published by UAE Attorney General Hamad Saif al-Shamsi.