COVID-19 in Maharashtra: State government caps test rates again

Amidst the dip in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, the government, on Monday, reduced the test cost to Rs 980 from Rs 4,500 that was charged in March. Moreover, Rs 1,400 will be charged for sample collection from hospitals and quarantine centres and Rs 1,800 will be charged for sample collection from home along with the delivery of the report. This is the fourth reduction in test rate since the outbreak of the pandemic. Initially, the rates were brought down from Rs 4,500 to Rs 2,200, then to Rs 1,900, and recently to Rs 1,200.

Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that the rate charged by laboratories has been rationalised. At present, 70,000 tests per 1 million are being conducted in the state. He further stated that municipal commissioners and district collectors have been instructed to ensure laboratories strictly adhere to the rationalised rates.

"Laboratories will now charge Rs 980 per COVID-19 test. For patients who are admitted in hospitals and quarantine centers, laboratories will collect the sample there and give the report for Rs 1,400. For collecting samples from a suspected coronavirus patient’s residence, laboratories will charge Rs 1,800,” said Tope. He argued that rationalisation will increase more tests at affordable rates, especially when the state government, as a part of the coronavirus containment strategy, has been focusing on testing, tracing, tracking and treating patients.

"The testing ratio has improved to 70,000 tests per one million people in Maharashtra and it will be further improved. The government has stepped up efforts to curb the spread of the virus,’’ said the minister.

The state government’s move comes days after it capped the rate of masks, ambulances and hospitals.

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