Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has directed a price cut for the more reliable RT-PCR tests for COVID-19. Though these tests are being conducted free of cost in government hospitals, they can cost up to Rs 2,400 in private laboratories.
The Aam Aadmi Party chief tweeted the information on Monday days after being pulled by the High Court, the Supreme Court on the state of pandemic /containment in the capital and the centre’s intervention amid a third wave of coronavirus infections, which seems to be waning.
“I have directed that the rates of RT-PCR tests be reduced in Delhi. Whereas tests are being conducted free of cost in government establishments, this (price cut) will help those who get their tests done in private labs,” Mr Kejriwal tweeted.
I have directed that the rates of RT PCR tests be reduced in Delhi. Whereas tests are being conducted free of cost in govt establishments, however this will help those who get their tests done in pvt labs.
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) November 30, 2020
“Will issue order immediately,” Delhi Health Minister Satendar Jain responded to the post.
Many states, including Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu, have capped the cost of RT-PCR tests after India’s top medical research body ICMR said in May it would no longer regulate the price, and that this would now have to be done by each state individually.
The cost of an RT-PCR test has come under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court, which is hearing a plea seeking directions to cap the cost at Rs 400 across the country.
The plea claims that different rates are being charged across the country whereas the cost of the test actually works at just Rs 200. It said the cost of RT-PCR test was fixed between Rs 900 to Rs 2,800 by various state governments and Union Territories.
Recently, the Delhi and central governments, both, launched mobile testing vans offering free coronavirus tests.
The decision was taken after Delhi Chief Minister’s urgent Covid containment meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah, who instructed doubling Delhi’s RT-PCR testing capacity, besides increasing hospital beds for Covid patients, and healthcare staff in city’s hospitals.
After this, the Delhi government had said it would increase its daily testing capacity from 60,000 a day to more than 1 lakh, with majority RT-PCR tests amid an ongoing surge that saw record 8,600 cases on November 10.
So far, Delhi has recorded more than 5.6 lakh COVID-19 cases with 9,066 deaths. The city’s daily coronavirus infections remained below the 5,000-mark for second day on Sunday with 4,906 fresh infections with 68 deaths.
Delhi was logging almost 100 Covid-related deaths a day in the week ending Sunday.