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The New Normal? Emirates Airline Rolling Out COVID-19 Rapid Tests For Passengers
The United Arab Emirates based airline, Emirates, is taking the lead in getting the airline industry back on track. This week, it became the first airline in the world to begin COVID-19 rapid blood tests for passengers boarding flights.
The tests were given to passengers on a flight from Dubai to Tunisia. The on-site tests were taken through a finger prick to draw blood and the results were back within 10 minutes. The airline plans to continue the tests, especially on flights to countries that will require proof of testing before entering.
“We are working on plans to scale up testing capabilities in the future and extend it to other flights,” Adel Al Redha, Emirates chief operating officer, said in a statement on Wednesday. “This will enable us to conduct on-site tests and provide immediate confirmation for Emirates passengers traveling to countries that require COVID-19 test certificates.”
Emirates was one of many airlines to ground all flights at one point to help flatten the curve. They are now hoping that by giving these rapid tests, the company can increase its flight load.
Competitor airline Ethiad, also based in the UAE, has begun installing screening kiosks in Abu Dhabi’s airport. The kiosks are designed to detect passengers with medical conditions, which includes fever– an early sign of COVID-19. It can also monitor heart rate and respiratory rate.
If the kiosk detects a fever or any other alarming symptoms, it will suspend the passengers check-in process and alert a staff member. From there, the passenger may have to undergo an additional screening to determine if they are well enough to fly.
As of now, the technology is being tested on volunteers, since the airline has not resumed passenger flights just yet. They will continue this testing into May with the hopes of testing it out on passengers once flying resumes.
It is only a matter of time before this becomes the “new normal” and other airlines follow in their footsteps.