The Supreme Court of India on Wednesday asked the Centre to ensure that all coronavirus tests -- whether it is being done in a private hospital or in a government run outlet -- are free of cost.
"The tests relating to COVID-19 whether in approved Government Laboratories or approved private Laboratories shall be free of cost. The respondents shall issue necessary direction in this regard immediately," Bar and Bench quoted the judgement to add.
A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and Shripathi Ravindra Bhat also said that the tests must be carried out "in NABL accredited Labs or any agencies approved by WHO or ICMR."
While the government had earlier set a cap on the price of the test for private hospitals at Rs. 4,500 the apex court said this was not feasible.
Another screenshot of the verdict shared by CNN News18's legal editor adds that private hospitala and laboratories had an "important role to play in containing the scale of pandemic by extending philanthropic services" at this time.
"The question as to whether the private laboratories carrying free of cost COVID-19 tests are entitled for any reimbursement of expenses incurred shall be considered later on,' the Supreme Court said.
India has so far recorded over 5,200 positive cases, as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare's data. 149 people who had tested positive have since passed away.
Globally, the live tracker maintained by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University puts the total number of cases at more 1,447,000.