Odisha caps Covid 19 RT-PCR test price at Rs 400, cheapest in the country
The Odisha government on Wednesday capped the price charged by private laboratories for RT-PCR Covid-19 tests to Rs 400 from Rs 1,200, making it the lowest among all the states in the country.
A notification issued by the health and family welfare department said the new maximum price cap would be inclusive of the GST (goods and services tax). Additional chief secretary of health, PK Mohapatra, said the cost of the test was reduced due to the lowering of price of testing kits and other accessories from Rs 1,200 to Rs 46.
Earlier, the price of RT-PCR test by private labs and hospitals was capped twice on July 3 and August 25, bringing it down to Rs 2,200 from Rs 4,500 and then to Rs 1200 respectively.
The government is also planning to bring down the price of rapid antigen tests from Rs 450.
Recently, states like Bihar, UP, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Delhi reduced the maximum price of RT-PCR tests. While Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Bihar brought it down to Rs 800, UP has fixed it at Rs 700.
The reduction in prices of the tests came after the Supreme Court issued notice to the Center, States, and Union Territories, seeking reply on a petition demanding the capping of the price of the RT-PCR test across the country at Rs 400.
Covid-19 cases in Odisha are on a downward spiral since October with daily positivity rate hovering at less than 1.5%. Of the 40,000-odd tests done daily, around 6,000 are RT-PCR tests. The death rates have also come down to a single digit in the last 4 days, raising hopes that the state is on its way to control the pandemic. Till now, 319,583 people in Odisha have tested positive for the virus including 1,781, who succumbed to the infection.
“The scene looks encouraging. But we can’t be complacent as winter is yet to settle fully in Odisha. If the positivity rates remain like this and deaths don’t go up by January 15, we can be sure that the pandemic is on its way out,” said Shalini Pandit of National Health Mission.
Enthused by the decline, the Odisha government on Wednesday withdrew its directive to put up posters at houses of Covid-19 positive patients. It has now asked district collectors and municipal commissioners to discontinue the practice. The Supreme Court had earlier said that Covid patients are being treated as untouchables if posters are put up.
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