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India Coronavirus: Supreme Court makes coronavirus tests free and orders private hospitals not to charge fees for tests | India News


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the government to issue appropriate orders immediately for free tests for coronavirus even in private hospitals and laboratories, saying the current charges, though limited to Rs 4,500, will be beyond the reach of the poor. The court said it would later examine whether private entities, which carry out the tests at no cost, would be entitled to reimbursement.

The higher court said private hospitals also have an important role to play in containing the scale of the pandemic by expanding philanthropic services in the hour of the national crisis.

“We found a prima facie substance in the petitioner’s submission that at this time of national calamity allowing private laboratories to charge Rs 4500 for the Covid-19 screening and confirmation test may not be within the means of much of the population of this country and no person will be deprived of undergoing the Covid-19 test due to non-payment of the limited amount of Rs 4500, “the court said.

“Private hospitals, including laboratories, have an important role to play in containing the scale of the pandemic by expanding philanthropic services in the hour of the national crisis. Therefore, we are pleased that the petitioner has presented a case for Instructing respondents will issue the necessary instructions for accredited private laboratories to perform a free Covid-19 test. The question of whether private laboratories conducting free Covid-19 tests are entitled to any reimbursement of expenses incurred will be considered later. Furthermore, they are of the opinion that tests related to Covid-19 should be carried out in NABL-accredited laboratories or in any ICMR-approved agency, “said a bank of judges Ashok Bhushan and S. Ravindra Bhat.

The court also issued a series of instructions to the Center and states to ensure the safety of doctors and medical personnel who they say are the warriors against the coronavirus and the country’s first line of defense to combat the pandemic.

The court expressed concern about the incidents of attack and harassment of medical personnel involved in treating patients with Covid-19, and said that all citizens must act responsibly to extend a friendly hand to the government and medical personnel to comply with their duties to contain and combat the deadly virus.

The court ordered the Center and declares “to ensure the availability of adequate personal protective equipment, including sterile nitrile / medical gloves, starch garments, medical masks, goggles, face shields, respirators (ie N-95 respiratory mask or mask Triple Layer or equivalent)), shoe covers, head covers, and gowns / gowns for all healthcare workers including doctors, nurses, ward boys, other medical professionals and paramedics who actively assist and treat patients suffering from COVID-19 in India, in metropolitan cities, level 2 and level 3 cities. ”

“The Center, the States / Territories of the Union and the respective police authorities are aimed at providing the necessary security to doctors and medical personnel in hospitals and places where patients who have been diagnosed with Covid-19 or patients suspected of Covid-19 or those in quarantine are, “he said, and ordered states to take the necessary measures against those who obstruct and commit any crime against medical personnel.

It also asked the government to explore alternative modes of production of protective clothing (masks, suits, caps, gloves, etc.) and allow the movement of raw materials.

Attorney General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Center, said more than 100 laboratories perform about 15,000 tests daily, but private laboratories have also been asked to conduct the tests in light of the spread of the virus across the country. . He also said he would seek instructions from the Center on the feasibility of doing tests at no cost to the public in private laboratories.

Mehta assured the court that the government and the police are committed to protecting the interests of the doctors and that all necessary measures will be taken to protect them. He said that doctors and everyone else fighting the pandemic will receive all the necessary protective equipment.

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