If travel is going to rebound once the restrictions are lifted, new safety measures must be in place to give people and their destinations enough peace of mind to make it all work.

That’s why Emirates now has a COVID-19 screening system for passengers, using a pre-boarding blood test. On Wednesday, April 15, 2020, in Dubai International Airport, the airline tested all the passengers bound for Tunisia. It is the first airline to conduct on-site rapid COVID-19 tests for passengers.

Blood tests at airport

Photo: Emirates

The test involves blood being drawn from a finger prick, and the results are processed in just 10 minutes. Emirates is planning to expand tests for flights to countries that require arriving passengers to be screened for the virus.

Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ chief operating officer, said in a statement, “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.”

Blood tests

Photo: Emirates

The airline has adapted its check-in and boarding systems with protective barriers so they meet the social distancing requirements.

All passengers are also required to wear masks at the airport and on board, and can only take small carry-ons like a laptop, handbag, briefcase, or baby items in the cabin. All other luggage must be checked in.

Emirates had previously grounded all its flights due to the coronavirus pandemic, but has recently resumed some routes to help repatriate citizens to their home countries — including the US, UK, Germany, Tunisia, Taiwan, and Afghanistan.