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COVID-19 Tests Should be Free: Supreme Court

A PIL was filed in the top court seeking a direction to the centre to provide free testing for COVID-19

The Supreme Court of India in an interim order said that the private labs across India should conduct free tests for COVID-19. The decision for reimbursement of the tests will be taken later. The top court has directed the Centre to issue necessary directions. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Ravindra Bhat has given two weeks to the Centre to file an affidavit on the matter. The bench was hearing a PIL filed by advocate Shashank Deo Sudhi seeking the government to ensure free COVID-19 testing for all.

This comes after the March 17 advisory released by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) allowing private labs to conduct the tests with a cap of Rs 4,500 for a test.

The court has also directed that the testing be carried out at National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration (NABL) accredited labs or by agencies approved by WHO or ICMR.

As examples from South Korea and Germany have confirmed, large scale testing has been effective in flattening the curve of COVID-19 pandemic.