Headlines April 10, 2020
Make all coronavirus tests free, orders Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has said that the government must ensure coronavirus tests are conducted for free in both state-run and private diagnostic labs. Coronavirus tests are already free at government hospitals. Private labs cannot be allowed to charge up to 4,500 rupees for the test in the middle of the ongoing crisis, said the court.
It is not yet decided whether private labs should be reimbursed by the government. This will be decided later.
The court said that charging a fee for tests may not be within the means of a large part of population. “No person be deprived to undergo the COVID-19 test due to non-payment of capped amount”, it said. “Private hospitals including laboratories have an important role to play in containing the scale of pandemic by extending philanthropic services in the hour of national crisis”.
After initially lagging behind most countries when it came to COVID-19 testing, India allowed private labs to conduct the tests late last month.
However, the country still has a low rate of testing. Less than 11.000 tests have been conducted per day, which is a small amount for a population of 130 crore people. Countries with far smaller populations like Germany and the US have been testing 50,000 and one lakh people every day.
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