Coronavirus Tests Should Be Made Free

Coronavirus Tests Should Be Made Free – Supreme Court Orders

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court said that the government must make sure that the coronavirus tests conducted are free in both private and state-run diagnostic labs.

In response to an IPL or Public Interest Litigation, the top court ruled that, in the middle of the ongoing crisis, private labs cannot be allowed to charge up to Rs 4,500 for the test. Meanwhile, at government hospitals, coronavirus tests are already free.

In a hearing conducted via video conferencing, Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Ravindra Bhat said, whether the government will reimburse the private labs or not will be decided later.

The Supreme Court said, “Permitting private Labs to charge Rs 4,500 for screening and confirmation test of COVID-19 may not be within means of a large part of the population of this country and no person should be deprived of undergoing the COVID-19 test due to non- payment of the capped amount of Rs 4,500 as we find prima facie substance in the submission of the petitioner that at this time of national calamity.”

It added, “By extending philanthropic services in the hour of national crisis, the private hospitals, including laboratories

, have an important role to play in containing the scale of the pandemic.”

The court said, “To issue necessary direction to accredited private labs to conduct free of cost COVID-19 test, we thus are satisfied that the petitioner has made out a case for issuing a direction to the respondents.”

The top court added, “Whether any reimbursement of expenses incurred is entitled to the private laboratories carrying free of cost COVID-19 tests shall be considered later on by the government.”

For detecting and stopping the spread of coronavirus for a while, maximum testing has been on top of the WHO’s guidelines.

India allowed private labs to conduct the tests late last month, after initially lagging behind most countries when it came to COVID-19 testing.

Yet, only a small number for its 130 crore people have been tested as the country still accounts for a low rate of testing, conducting just 10 to 11 thousand tests per day that have amounted to around 1.2 lakh tests to date.

Countries like the US and Germany, which has far smaller populations, have been testing 50,000 and 1 lakh people, every day.

As of April 9, the Covid-19 has spread to over 184 countries and the number of worldwide confirmed cases is 14,84,993, and the death toll stands at 88,550. Around 3,29,909 people have recovered and there are still 10,66,534 are active cases. In India, the confirmed number of cases stands at 5,734 and the death toll with 166 deaths. Around 473 have recovered and the number of active cases is 5,095.