In a fresh set of guidelines issued to the private laboratories in India, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has instructed to not charge more than Rs 4500 for conducting COVID-19 tests.
The major development comes as the Ministry Of Health And Public Welfare permits NABL accredited private labs to conduct tests for the novel coronavirus.
"The National Task Force recommends that the maximum cost for testing sample should not exceed Rs 4500. This may include Rs 1500 as a screening test for suspect cases and an additional Rs 3000 for confirmation test," the ICMR told private labs.
Besides, the ICMR called for home collection of the samples to prevent suspected cases from going out in the public. All those opting for a test will need to submit a government ID carrying their current address and contact number.
Citing the rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases across the country, the ICMR also encouraged the labs to carry out free or subsidised testing in the hour of a national public health emergency.
The ICMR warned the laboratories that legal action will be taken against them if they will not adhere to the guidelines.
Pune will take the final call
As per the guidelines, if a person tests positive for COVID-19, the private labs will have to send his/her samples to Pune's National Institute of Virology (NIV) for the final examination. It is only after the NIV's confirmation that a person will be declared a COVID-19 patient.
COVID-19 cases go past 400 in India
India appears to be on the verge of entering the stage 3 of the novel coronavirus outbreak. So far, over 400 have been infected with the fatal virus and new cases are being reported almost every hour from across the country.
Out of the total infected, around 23 have recovered while 4 succumbed to the disease.