Mumbai: The state government has capped the cost for COVID-19 test in private labs at Rs 2,200 and for a home visit at Rs 2,800. The decision comes on the background of a report submitted by a committee set up by the government to decide on the pricing of COVID-19 test in private labs.
State Health Minister Rajesh Tope made the announcement in this regard on Saturday. Earlier, private labs were charging anywhere between Rs 4,500 to 5,500 for the COVID-19 tests. Maharashtra is the only state where private lab testing will be done at this lowest rate, Tope claimed.
Tope said, "The state government has reduced the private lab test charges by almost 50 per cent. We are also increasing the number of labs approved for testing COVID-19 cases to 100. These labs would later be used for testing for other diseases."
"We accept that the number of beds for COVID-19 patients are less than the required numbers. Hereafter, we are increasing the number of ICU beds in Mumbai by 500. Apart from these, we are also increasing the numbers of beds available at all hospitals," Tope added.
Tope said the Uddhav Thackeray-led government formed a four-member committee recently to review and fix the testing cost charged by private laboratories. The Health Minister informed, “If the private labs charge more than the set upper limit, strict legal action would be taken against them.”
Meanwhile, the curve of coronavirus is not flattening in Maharashtra. The state is worst hit in the country with cities such as Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Aurangabad reporting surge in COVID-19 cases. On Saturday, the state tally crossed the mark of 1 lakh, a third of the total cases in India. Of these, Mumbai solely has reported over 55,000 cases.