NEW DELHI: Delhi government reduced the rate of an RT-PCR test from Rs 2,400 to Rs 800 from Monday evening. According to the order, issued following a directive by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, Rs 1,200 will be charged for an RT-PCR test if the sample is collected at home, which will include charges for visit, sample collection and test.
“I have directed that the rates of RT-PCR tests be reduced in Delhi. Whereas tests are being conducted free of cost in government establishments, however, this will help those who get their tests done in private labs (sic),” Kejriwal tweeted. Following the tweet, health minister Satyendar Jain issued an official instruction to his department to issue the order.
The move is likely to increase the number of RT-PCR tests, considered the gold standard for Covid-19 testing, in Delhi, which will help in early detection of the novel coronavirus infection, said a source. An RT-PCR test is far more accurate than a rapid antigen test, which is known to have around 60% accuracy.
The order, which was signed by principal secretary of health Vikram Dev Dutt and came into effect immediately, superseded a previous order that had reduced the charge to Rs 2,400 from Rs 4,500.
“Processing of samples, sharing the reports with the client and updation of all reports on ICMR portals will be ensured latest by 24 hours of collection of samples,” the order stated. All labs and hospitals have been directed to display the revised rates at a prominent place within 24 hours of the order.
Welcoming the move, Dr Gauri Agarwal of Genestrings Lab said this might lead to a much larger percentage of the population opting for on-demand testing even as a precautionary step. “We’re looking to upgrade our infrastructure to handle higher volumes anticipated due to this price change. But we expect the government to ease the ICMR upload process and timeline as that will be a key resource crunch area as the number of tests increases,” said Dr Agarwal.
Delhi government has significantly increased the number of daily Covid tests and more RT-PCR tests have been conducted since repeated directives of the high court. Towards the end of June, Delhi was conducting 8,000-9,000 RT-PCR tests daily, which has now increased to nearly 30,000.
However, till now, Delhi’s charge for an RT-PCR test was on the higher side in the country, while the new order will place it among those in the lowest bracket.

Source link Times of India


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