In a big development on Wednesday, the Captain Amarinder Singh-led Punjab government capped the COVID-19 test rates for private laboratories. Now, patients cannot be charged more than Rs.1600 for the RT-PCR test by private labs. In the case of the TrueNat test and CBNAAT test, private labs can charge a maximum price of Rs.2,000 and Rs.2,400 respectively.
At the same time, Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu clarified that an individual lab can fix additional cost for home collection of samples. Stressing that the private labs have to follow the testing protocols laid down by the Centre, the ICMR and the state government, he directed that they must share the test result data with the Punjab government and on the ICMR portal on a timely basis. Moreover, he urged that the information of the patient should be maintained with the utmost confidentiality.
Currently, there are 1,01,341 confirmed active novel coronavirus cases in Punjab while 77,127 patients have been discharged and 2926 fatalities have been reported. At present, there are 21,288 active cases in the state. Punjab has reportedly seen an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases from August 1 to September 22, registering 84% of its total cases and 86.80% of its overall deaths in this period. Additionally, the state’s fatality rate has risen to 2.88%, which is way higher than the national average.
Punjab is one of the 7 states which account for 63% of active cases, 65.5% of confirmed cases and 77% of the total deaths in the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is presently chairing a high-level virtual review meeting with the Chief Ministers and Health Ministers of these 7 states- Punjab, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Delhi. As per the Ministry of Health, the Centre has regularly deputed multi-disciplinary teams to states to support them in containment, surveillance, testing and efficient clinical management of positive cases. – PTI