Private laboratories shouldn’t charge more than Rs 4,500 for testing COVID-19 cases, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said on Saturday, 21 March, encouraging all private labs to offer this service for free or at subsidised rates.
In a set of guidelines for testing for COVID-19 in private labs, the research body put a cap on the maximum cost for testing sample, which may include “Rs 1,500 as a screening test for suspect cases, and an additional Rs 3,000 for confirmation test.”
“However, ICMR encourages free subsidised testing in this hour of national public health emergency,” the medical body said.
As per the guidelines, the test can only be conducted in labs which have National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) certifications.
ICMR also advised that home collection of sample should be done by private labs so that infected people can avoid travelling, and the samples to be transported to ICMR-NIV, Pune under “suitable biosafety and biosecurity precautions.”
So far, only government-run hospitals were conducting these tests. However, as the number of cases of coronavirus climbedb to 315 in the country, on Saturday, he Union health ministry issued an order saying that failure to comply with the guidelines will result in legal action.