Dubai: Dubai: All Dubai Health Authority (DHA) testing centres have slashed the price of COVID-19 detection test to Dh150 with effect from today. Until now the price for the test was Dh250.

In a circular issued to all its testing centres, DHA announced the new reduced rate for reverse transcript-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test. This has been done as part of DHA’s ongoing efforts to make the test more affordable so that maximum number of people can get themselves tested for the dreaded virus.

The new price will be effective at all government hospitals in Dubai. At private clinics and hospitals, however, the cost for conducting the same test remains unchanged at Dh250 for now. Dubai residents can call 800342, which is a toll free number, to make an appointment for the test. The results are typically issued within 24 to 48 hours.

So far, throughout the country, the government has carried out more than 7.5 million RT-PCR tests. The idea is to test as many people as possible for faster detection, isolation of positive patients and quarantine of those who may have come in close proximity to positive patients. This will greatly help in arresting the pace of community transmission of the virus, say doctors.

Pricing of COVID-19 tests

Explaining the reason behind the pricing for the test, the director of a private pathological laboratory said: “RT-PCR is a molecular testing module wherein a specific gene component is amplified and detected. For COVID-19 testing, up to three to four genes of the virus are analysed in order to avoid any false positive or false negative result. The analyser is expensive. Moreover, a special negative pressure technique is used and Hepa filter units are required to minimise chances of contamination. Therefore, the tests are priced high. However, if private hospitals are advised to slash their prices, they too will reduce them to a point where they can cover the cost price of the test at least.”

Who are eligible for COVID-19 PCR testing?

• Hospitalised patients.

• Patients who have an impending surgical procedure to undergo.

• Patients in long-term care facilities with symptoms.

• Patients 60 years of age and older with symptoms.

• Patients with underlying conditions with symptoms.

• Those people who were in contact with a positive case and are showing symptoms.

• Those who have returned from travel and are showing symptoms.

• If you do not fit into any of the categories above, but have developed symptoms, please inform your supervisor and seek medical attention.

What happens after testing?

If the result of your test is negative, the 14-day quarantine period starts while following one of these two tracks:

If no symptoms after 14 days, you can resume work normally.

If symptoms develop during the 14-day quarantine, the test must be repeated.

If the result is positive, then the 14-day isolation period will start. In that case, the following steps will have to be followed:

Your case will be assessed. If stable, you will either be isolated at home or moved to an isolation facility. If unstable, you will be isolated at the respective hospital.