NEW DELHI: Concurring with a petitioner that the price cap of `4,500 per coronavirus test in private labs was way too high, the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed that all government and approved private labs must offer the test free of cost. A bench of justices Ashok Bhushan and S Ravindra Bhat ordered the Centre to issue necessary directions immediately.
“Private hospitals and laboratories have an important role to play in containing the scale of the pandemic by extending philanthropic services in the hour of national crisis,” the bench said.
Whether or not private labs offering free of cost COVID- 19 tests are entitled to any reimbursement will be considered later, the bench added. The petition’s primary focus was on providing protective gear for medical and healthcare professionals involved in the treatment.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta contended that the government is taking every measure to protect the medical professionals and healthcare workers. “Why don’t you create a mechanism at the district level where the district magistrate can arrange things, as the service sector is working from home. Their well being and mental health are also important,” observed the court.