K9s against coronavirus: The UAE implements sniffer dogs to detect COVID-19

Aug 4, 2020

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Puppies in airports and on planes have long been a thing, whether for emotional support or as service animals. And now, man’s best friend has been deployed against the greatest disruptor of 2020: Coronavirus.

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The United Arab Emirates has begun training K9 sniffer dogs to detect COVID-19, as first reported by The National and One Mile at a Time. The dogs have been stationed at airports across the country, including at high-traffic hub Dubai International Airport (DXB), to help detect traces of the coronavirus from passenger swabs.


“The test was very fast, absolutely easy to do and I was surprised that it was available upon arrival”, a passenger said in a video published by WAM and shared by The National, which depicts K9 dogs working with local handlers to help process incoming passengers more quickly and efficiently.

“Passenger samples are collected by partners from the local Dubai Health Authority”, said Maj. Salah Al Mazrooei from the Dubai Police Department in the video. “Results are out in less than one minute”, he said. Dedicated police teams have been working with the dogs throughout UAE airports to ensure the procedures follow protocol.

Scared of dogs? There’s nothing to fear; the dogs never come in direct contact with the passengers. Instead, they are exposed to passenger samples within the safety of an isolated room. The dogs allegedly can detect possible infection within mere seconds.

Despite this Middle East nation utilizing K9 resources as an additional defence against coronavirus spread, the dogs aren’t the only layer of defence for the UAE.

Related: A country-by-country guide to coronavirus reopenings

All visitors are required to follow stringent safety protocols when entering or departing the UAE, including PCR testing upon arrival for travellers from select countries, and a mandatory requirement for negative COVID-19 test results for any arrival entering the country on or after 1 August 2020.

Featured photo by Murmakova / Getty Images.

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