Egypt has set up its first drive-through coronavirus testing centre at a university in Cairo in an effort to make it easier for people to access polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.
The country reported on Sunday its highest single-day rise in coronavirus deaths with 91 fatalities, which raises the death toll from the highly contagious disease to 1,575. A total of 44,598 positive cases have so far been reported by the health ministry.
The testing site will be operational as of Thursday, cabinet media advisor Hany Younis told Ahram Online.
The service, which is meant to prevent crowding at medical facilities, allows people to have their samples taken while inside their vehicles.
People looking to take the test can book the service through a mobile application to get an appointment at a drive-through testing site.
They only need to drive up to a testing point where their vehicles will be sanitised before a sample is taken at a designated window by a medical worker stationed in a protective booth.
The result of tests carried out at drive-through sites can be delivered within hours via the mobile application.
A health worker collects a sample at a drive-through COVID-19 screening center at the Ain Shams field hospital prepared to receive COVID-19 patients, during the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Cairo, Egypt June 15, 2020. REUTERS
The government is planning to roll out the service to more locations to help with the early detection of the deadly disease and reduce critical cases and deaths, the cabinet said in a statement on Monday.
Five drive-through centres are scheduled to be set up at the campuses of the universities of Ain Shams, Cairo, 6 October, and Future University.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly along with Higher Education Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghafar and Health Minister Hala Zayed, toured the testing facility at Cairo's Ain Shams university hospital earlier on Monday.
A 200-bed field hospital for coronavirus patients at the university which was inspected by the officials is due to open its doors on Thursday.
The testing unit was developed in cooperation with privately-owned lab and diagnostic testing company Speed Medical (SPMD) as well as the country's higher education ministry.
Many countries around the world are implementing drive-through coronavirus testing services, including in the US, the UK, Germany, Singapore, Malaysia, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, in an attempt to alleviate pressure on hospitals.
Around 6,000 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are conducted daily free of charge nationwide to detect coronavirus infections, according to head of the health ministry's Central Department of Laboratories Nancy El-Gendy.
Due to the soaring pressure on central laboratories, the health ministry recently adopted clinical examinations, chest x-rays, and other lab tests as a means of diagnosing suspected coronavirus cases, with those showing signs of the disease receiving treatment immediately until the result of the PCR test comes out, the health minister had said earlier.
Private laboratories are currently not authorised to carry out coronavirus tests, but private hospitals are allowed to collect swabs and send them to central labs to be analysed.
A member of a medical team sprays a car before entering the drive-through COVID-19 screening center at the Ain Shams field hospital prepared to receive COVID-19 patients, during the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Cairo, Egypt June 15, 2020. REUTERS