Several private labs welcome govt move to slash RT-PCR test rate in Delhi

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New Delhi, Dec 1 (PTI) A day after the Delhi government directed to slash the price of RT-PCR tests to diagnose COVID-19, many private laboratories welcomed the step, with some saying this will give a much-need respite to citizens amid the ongoing pandemic situation in the national capital.

The city government on Monday had ordered to reduce the rate of RT-PCR tests in Delhi to Rs 800 from existing Rs 2,400. While the cost of collecting samples from home was reduced to Rs 1,200.

“As we know, RT-PCR tests are the gold standard for detecting COVID-19. This is a welcome move by the Delhi state government as the number of COVID-19 cases is rising incrementally here,” said Caesar Sengupta, vice president, Thyrocare lab network.

“We understand that the slashing of the cost has come amid the third wave, and hence the need for ramping up of the testing capacity in the city. We are anticipating another surge in the city, and this comes as a much-needed respite for citizens,” he said.

A spokesperson of Dr Lal PathLabs, another major laboratory group in the country, when contacted, said, 'We are committed to serve the communities across the country to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to leverage technology to best manage the operations.” A couple of other laboratory networks declined to comment on slashing of RT-PCR test rates.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Tuesday told reporters that the city government establishments are conducting these tests for free, and the move to further cap the prices of RT-PCR tests will help those who get their tests done in private labs.

Delhi is optimally utilising both private and government labs, but there is a need for additional support, which has been promised by the central government, he said.

“When labs conduct tests equivalent to their capacity, it results in a delay. We will be taking up this issue with ICMR and the central government to suggest that if labs conduct 10 per cent less tests than their total capacity, it will result in a higher turnaround rate,” he said.

Delhi recorded 3,726 fresh COVID-19 cases on Monday, the lowest in 15 days, while the daily death toll crossed the 100-mark again and stood at 108. On Tuesday, 4,006 fresh incidences were reported with 86 new fatalities, while the positivity rate dropped to 6.85 per cent, according to the latest health bulletin issued by the government. PTI KND AQS AQS