Collected samples will be sent to MicroHealth's reference laboratory in Kozhikode that has been certified by the Indian Council of Medical Research.
Much to the relief of expats stranded in India's Kerala, there is now a UAE-approved Covid-19 testing facility in every district of the state, except Idukki, Khaleej Times has learnt.
MicroHealth Laboratories, a Kerala-based testing facility that has partnered with the UAE's Pure Health, has set up collection facilities and screening centres in all 14 districts across Kerala, except Idukki. Pure Health has been appointed by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) as the UAE's official laboratory partner for conducting pre-flight PCR Covid-19 tests.
Dr Noushad CK, CEO of MicroHealth Laboratories, told Khaleej Times that the decision to expand the facility was made following significant demand from expats who wish to travel to the UAE.
"Responding to the requests from UAE residents in other parts of Kerala, MicroHealth Laboratories made arrangements to collect samples through their franchisees in all districts, except Idukki, after receiving approvals from the UAE," he said.
Collected samples will be sent to MicroHealth's reference laboratory in Kozhikode that has been certified by the Indian Council of Medical Research. Then, results will be uploaded to Pure Health's portal 'within 24 hours once samples reach the lab', Dr Noushad explained.
"When the government of the UAE announced that pre-flight PCR tests would be accepted only from ICA-approved centres, there were only seven centres in Kerala - six MicroHealth Laboratories centres in the Malabar region and another centre in Palakkad. Now, there are 10 such centres," he added.
"Earlier, since most of the testing centres were in the Malabar region, those living in the south of Kerala found it challenging to travel long distances to get the test done and then travel in the next 96 hours after the test." Palakkad was the centre closest to them and, according to several residents, there was an issue of "overcrowding" in the laboratory.
Dr Noushad assured travellers that details of the labs and collection centres would be updated on the Pure Health website soon.
"We are also working towards launching home collection facilities for passengers at a minimal cost. The safety protocol for this process is currently under review," he said.
Harikrishnan Namboothiri, CEO of the Department of Non-Resident Keralites Affairs (Norka), told Khaleej Times: "We had received several requests from NRKs who were wishing to return to the UAE and asking community leaders to provide a solution to this problem. We are glad MicroHealth was able to solve this issue."
In an earlier interview with Khaleej Times, Maria El Houari, the project manager for international passenger screening at Pure Health, said they currently have 40 labs in India and more centres are being added by the day. "That number is expected to increase drastically," she said.