The number of UAE-approved Covid-19 testing centres in India is expected to increase ‘drastically’ to meet the huge demand from stranded residents wishing to return to the country, a spokesperson for the Pure Health network of laboratories said.
Pure Health has been appointed by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) as the UAE’s official laboratory partner for conducting pre-flight Covid-19 screenings. Starting August, all passengers travelling to the UAE must have a Covid-19 negative PCR test result from authorised labs.
Maria El Houari, the project manager for international passenger screening at Pure Labs, said: “We currently have 40 labs in India alone. With more labs being added by the day, that number is expected to increase drastically.”
Owing to the high numbers of stranded residents who wish to fly back to the UAE, Pure Labs has said it decided to expand testing capacity by adding centres. However, an exact time-frame for the increase in numbers is yet to be revealed.
Houari explained that Pure Health has an integrated IT system, so its laboratories push the results on a global IT platform.
“Then, the passengers receive an e-mail result from Pure Health informing them of their outcomes. This result is updated in real-time to the ICA’s passengers database, so the UAE government is aware that the passengers have conducted the test and received the results,” she said.
Pure Health is the only laboratory with a system that is connected to the ICA. It can assure passengers that the authorities of the UAE are aware of their results, without relying on a paper-based result.
“Furthermore, the e-mail result can be printed as it has a security QR code that can be scanned to check the authenticity of the report,” she explained.
Pure Health offers a 24 to 48-hour turnaround time for travellers from India. “That waiting time for results differs from one testing site to the other, however, since this is a delicate situation and travellers have a limited window to travel, we ensure all our labs maintain a 24 to 48-hour turnaround time.”
When the Ministry of Civil Aviation in India announced a special travel arrangement for stranded residents, hundreds of passengers with approvals and valid PCR tests were able to return to the UAE. However, with the limited number of testing centres in India, others are finding it hard to travel between states and district borders to get test results.
“Passengers get notified by the FAIC during their application process that they need to visit the screening link and book attest through it before they receive the final feedback,” she added.
Houari added: “Given the magnitude of expected air travel between India and the UAE, we are working around the clock to provide screening across all Indian states and cities, that will ensure passengers have a smooth screening process before their flight.”
She explained, “However, as the safety and wellbeing of all travellers and the nation is our number one priority, we need to follow a strict due diligence process before we approve the labs to ensure the quality of results.”