We have all been to drive-thru restaurants and car washes, and availed services without leaving the comfort of our cars. Now, the United Arab Emirates is using this concept to conduct COVID-19 tests on a mass scale.

UAE opens drive-thru COVID-19 Test Center

On Saturday, UAE launched a mobile COVID-19 Test Center as part of the country's efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus. The new center, built by Abu Dhabi Health Services Company-SEHA, was inaugurated by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in the capital's Zayed Sports City.

UAE's drive-thru coronavirus testing facility,
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan getting himself tested at the drive-thru testing facility in Abu Dhabi. @MohamedBinZayed / Twitter

The drive-thru facility is capable of screening hundreds of people daily, with each screening taking only five minutes. Each test costs 370 dirhams ($370) and will be a completely contactless experience, which means there will be no direct contact between the patient and healthcare workers.

"This unique facility allows for the early diagnosis of people infected with the virus and to quickly trace the people they had been in touch with." Dr. Nourah Al Gaithi, chief operations officer at the Ambulatory Healthcare Services, told Khaleej Times before adding that the results will be delivered within hours via SMS and the SEHA mobile app.

If someone tests positive for COVID-19, they will immediately be rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment. The test centre will be extremely convenient for the elderly, pregnant women and people at high-risk of contracting communicable diseases, according to Al Gaithi.

UAE becomes the fifth country to open drive-thru test center

UAE is not the first and certainly will not be the last country to set up a drive-thru testing center for coronavirus screening. The country is the fifth in the world to implement this facility after the US, Portugal, United Kingdom, Canada, and South Korea.

So far, the UAE has 570 confirmed coronavirus cases with a total of 3 deaths. The country has put into place several restrictions amid the global pandemic on night movements and has urged people to stay indoors at all times, unless absolutely necessary as it goes through a disinfection program that runs until April 4. The Gulf state has also closed its borders and grounded passenger flights.