Emirates Administers Blood Tests for Coronavirus to Passengers Ahead of Flight

Results of the passengers' tests were produced in 10 minutes.

In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while still allowing for travel, Emirates this week started testing passengers boarding a flight by using a rapid blood test in the terminal.

The tests, which were administered by the Dubai Health Authority, were conducted in the group check-in area at the Dubai International Airport and yielded results in 10 minutes.

“The testing process has gone smoothly… We are working on plans to scale up testing capabilities in the future and extend it to other flights, this will enable us to conduct on-site tests and provide immediate confirmation for Emirates passengers travelling to countries that require COVID-19 test certificates,” Adel Al Redha, the chief operating officer for Emirates, said in a statement. “The health and safety of staff and passengers at the airport remain of paramount importance.”

The program was first administered on Wednesday to all passengers departing on a flight from Dubai to Tunisia.

“To tackle COVID-19, we have been proactively working with various governmental [organizations] and the private health sector… We believe strongly that the most effective solutions require close partnerships with other public and private sector [organizations],” HE Humaid Al Qutami, the director-general of the Dubai Health Authority, said in a statement.

In addition to testing for the virus, the carrier said it installed measures to promote social distancing, including barriers at check-in desks. Further, all passengers have to wear a mask at the airport and on the plane, and the airline has done away with things like magazines and print reading material as well as prohibited large carry-on bags in the cabin.

The airline industry has been hit hard by the spread of COVID-19 with many people cancelling travel plans and countries introducing travel bans, including the U.S. cutting off travel from Europe.

For its part, Emirates is offering anyone who booked a ticket before May 31 for travel up to August 31 the chance to either keep it for 760 days (about two years), exchange it for a travel voucher valid for up to two years, or request a full refund.

Click here for the most recent updates on coronavirus from Travel + Leisure.

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