New Delhi: Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government Monday slashed the price of RT-PCR tests, considered the gold standard for Covid-19 screening.
The price has been cut by nearly 70 per cent — to Rs 800 from Rs 2,400 — for samples collected at labs, while for samples collected during home visits, it has been halved to Rs 1,200.
The order was issued by the Health and Family Welfare department. Delhi government officials told ThePrint that the order comes into effect immediately.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced there would be price change on Twitter Monday morning, but had not specified the amounts. Responding to the tweet, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain posted: “Sir. We will issue orders immediately.”
Sir. We will issue orders immediately.
— Satyendar Jain (@SatyendarJain) November 30, 2020
The order, a copy of which has been accessed by ThePrint, stated that private labs shall mandatorily collect the samples from the testing sites as requisitioned by the government team (District CDMO or hospital).
“Processing of samples, sharing the reports with the client (Govt or individual) and updation of all reports on ICMR Portal will be ensured latest within 24 hours of collection of samples,” it further read.
It also mentioned that all labs/hospitals will display the revised rates at a prominent place, latest within 24 hours of the order being issued.
Delhi is currently going through a third wave of Covid surge. At 35,091, it currently has the third-highest number of active cases in India. So far, 9,066 deaths have been reported in the national capital. In the last 24 hours, 4,906 people tested positive for Covid-19.
Delhi not the first to cut prices
The Gujarat government had in September slashed RT-PCR prices to Rs 1,500 from Rs 2,500.
In Tamil Nadu, which conducts only RT-PCR tests, the price is pegged at Rs 1,500 for beneficiaries of the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme. It is Rs 2,000 for non-beneficiaries. An additional Rs 500 is charged for door-step sample collection, irrespective of the price category.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.