In a welcome move, private laboratories in Kerala have agreed to slash down the price for RT-PCR tests, Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja confirmed. According to the latest price revision, RT-PCR tests in Kerala will cost just Rs 500. Earlier, private laboratories in Kerala were charging Rs 1700 for RT-PCR tests. 

Price slash could help identify more Covid patients

The health minister revealed that several test kits recognized by ICMR tests are now available at a very low rate, and it is possible to conduct tests at Rs 500. At one point in time, the Kerala government has reduced the rate for RT-PCR tests to Rs 1500. However, following a High Court order, the rates were again increased to Rs 1700. 

Novel Coronavirus

The new charge of Rs 500 for the RT-PCR test is inclusive of the test kit, personal protection equipment, and swab charges. In Kerala, RT-PCR tests are being carried out absolutely free in government hospitals. 

The price reduction of RT-PCR tests is considered a positive move, as it will help to identify more people who are infected with the Covid pandemic. 

Coronavirus spreading like wildfire in Kerala

It was after the legislative assembly elections that coronavirus cases in Kerala started rising dramatically. On April 29, the state witnessed more than 38,000 Covid positive cases and 48 deaths. The test positivity rate in Kerala is at an alarming 24.5 percent. 

As the coronavirus pandemic is spreading like wildfire in the state, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has asked to suspend the shooting of cinemas, TV serials, and other television shows. The chief minister also asked people to voluntarily follow a self lockdown. 

In the meantime, a top medical expert in Kerala has suggested that the coronavirus test positivity rate in Kerala could cross 30 percent in May. 

"Our cases here are projected to peak sometime between May 10 - 15 and we could see a maximum test positivity rate (TPR) of 30 percent. Worst case scenario, we could see a 35 % TPR, but that looks unlikely now," says Dr KP Aravindan, a pathology expert and member of the State Planning Board for COVID-19, The News Minute reports