New Delhi: Amid burgeoning cases of the novel coronavirus and the demand for more testing centres, the Centre has now allowed accredited private labs to conduct tests for COVID-19. Media reports stated that 50-60 private labs, accredited by the National Board of Accreditation for laboratories will be allowed to conduct the test.
Currently, only government-run labs are permitted to conduct the test. Although their capacity is 5,000 samples per day but only 60-70 samples are being tested. As per the government’s advisory, only symptomatic cases with a travel history to abroad or those in direct contact with an affected individual are being tested.
Indian Council Medical Research (ICMR), Director General, Balram Bhargava told media outlets that charges for COVID-19 tests in private labs are being worked out. The government spends Rs 6,000-Rs 6,500 for the screening of patients and around Rs 4,500 for re-confirmation tests. While the private labs will charge a whopping amount of Rs 9,000-Rs 12,000.
ICMR has a network of 106 testing labs across the country that get samples of influenza-like illnesses. Bhargava added, nine additional government-run labs will also be operational to check for COVID-19 cases soon. Also, 70 more testing labs- including those in medical colleges and the labs run by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will be pulled in for conducting COVID-19 tests.
The number of coronavirus cases in India have risen to 125 on Tuesday. The cases are rapidly increasing even after the government has announced a near-total lockdown for the country. In order to contain the virus, schools and colleges have been shut in several states, social gatherings are banned, while people have been asked to avoid unnecessary travel.
The number of deaths around the world linked to the new coronavirus topped 7,000 after Italy announced a new surge in fatalities. China has the highest number of fatalities at 3,213.