Private labs continue to charge old rates despite Kerala govt slashing RT-PCR test cost to Rs 500
After Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja announced a slash in the cost of the RT-PCR test, reports have surfaced that many private labs are testing people at the old rates.
On Thursday, the Kerala government announced that RT-PCR tests are reduced from Rs 1,700 to Rs 500 at all private labs. However, according to reports, many such lab owners have said that bringing the price down to Rs 500 is unacceptable. The private hospitals continue to test patients at Rs 1,700 as they have not received in order in this regard.
According to reports, the new RT-PCR test rates include swab charges, PPE kits, and test kits. Shailaja said the decision has come close on the heels of the latest price reduction of the ICMR-approved kits.
Earlier, the Kerala government had cut the price of the RT-PCR test from Rs 2,000 to Rs 1,500 on January 1. But, the cost was later revised to Rs 1,700 following the Kerala High Court order. Covid-19 tests at government hospitals continue to remain free.
Meanwhile, as Kerala reported over 30,000 Covid-19 cases on Friday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the state government will consider imposing a complete lockdown in districts witnessing a surge in Covid-19 cases. The state government have decided to impose lockdown-like restrictions from May 4 to May 9. Vijayan said that shops selling essential commodities such as dairy products, vegetables, groceries, fish and meat stall are allowed to function. These shops should focus on home delivery. Apart from shops, hospitals, media organizations, IT and telecom companies are also exempted from these restrictions.
The Chief Minister also said that people must not leave their houses unnecessarily and added that crowding should be avoided in closed places. There should be strict restrictions on wedding functions and funerals. Restaurants must focus on home delivery and dining-in is strictly prohibited. Other shops such as textiles, jewellery shops and salons must remain closed during this period.
Vijayan also pointed out that some banks are forcing their employees to work beyond the revised bank timings. The government had said that banks are allowed to work from 10 am to 2 pm due to the Covid-19 situation. The Chief Minister has also asked people remain at home as the weekend lockdown like curbs on Saturdays and Sundays.
Meanwhile, according to reports, private hospitals in Palakkad are facing a shortage of medical oxygen. This comes a day after Palakkad reported 2,273 Covid-19 cases on Friday.