World’s first airline to test passengers for COVID-19 before flights

Perhaps a sign of what the future holds for air travelers, Dubai-based airline Emirates has begun carrying out Covid-19 blood tests on passengers at the airport before flights. According to a statement released by the airline, the first rapid Covid-19 blood tests took place 15th of April at Dubai International Airport, with passengers on a flight to Tunisia all reportedly tested before departure. Emirates claims to be the world’s first airline to conduct such tests, CNN reported.

The quick blood test was conducted by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and results were available within 10 minutes. This test was conveniently done at the Group Check-in area of Dubai International Airport Terminal 3. Adel Al Redha, Emirates Chief Operating Officer said: “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. The health and safety of staff and passengers at the airport remain of paramount importance.” The airline’s check-in and boarding formalities have also been adapted with social distancing in mind, is written in Emirate’s statement.

Blood tests aren’t meant to diagnose COVID-19, rather they check for antibodies in the blood to determine whether a person had the virus and developed antibodies against it. The airline did not specify what would happen if a person were to test positive, according to U.S News.
In addition to the rapid testing, Emirates also rolled out a new set of rules for passengers, including the mandatory use of face masks at the airport. The airline also said reading materials will not be available and food packaging has been modified to minimize the risk of contact. Passengers will also no longer be able to bring cabin baggage aboard flights. The gradual changes implemented by Emirates shine a light on the potential solutions and their process could become more widespread as the commercial aviation industry tries to recover from the blow, CBS News wrote.

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