- RT-PCR tests for Covid can cost up to Rs 2,400 in Delhi's private labs
- States like Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu have capped RT-PCR cost
- Supreme Court plea seeks order to cap RT-PCR cost at Rs 400 across India
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has slashed the price of RT-PCR tests - the gold standard for detecting COVID-19 - by two-thirds to Rs 800 in the city.
Though these tests are being conducted free of cost in Delhi's government hospitals, they can cost up to Rs 2,400 in private laboratories.
"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, this (price cut) will help those who get their tests done in private labs," Mr Kejriwal tweeted.
I have directed that the rates of RT PCR tests be reduced in Delhi. Whereas tests are being conducted free of cost in govt establishments, however this will help those who get their tests done in pvt labs.— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) November 30, 2020
Many states, including Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu, capped the cost of RT-PCR tests after India's top medical research body ICMR said in May it would no longer regulate the price, and that this would now have to be done by each state individually.
The cost of an RT-PCR test has come under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court, which is hearing a plea seeking directions to cap the cost at Rs 400 across the country.
The plea claims that different rates are being charged across the country whereas the cost of the test actually works at just Rs 200. It said the cost of RT-PCR test was fixed between Rs 900 to Rs 2,800 by various state governments and Union Territories.
To increase testing amid the second wave in September, the Delhi government had said residents no longer needed a doctor's prescription to take a coronavirus test. People need to carry Aadhaar card as proof of their address in Delhi and fill up forms from the Indian Council of Medical Research, which is the country's nodal agency of the battle against coronavirus, the government had said.
Monday's move to slash price comes amid a third wave of coronavirus infections.
So far, Delhi has recorded more than 5.6 lakh COVID-19 cases with 9,066 deaths. The city's daily coronavirus infections remained below the 5,000-mark for second day on Sunday with 4,906 fresh infections with 68 deaths.
Delhi was logging almost 100 Covid-related deaths a day in the week ending Sunday.