After govt push, SC agrees to modify its order on free COVID-19 tests at pvt labs

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The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to modify its April 8 order in which it directed that testing for coronavirus be made free at all government and private labs.

The observation came after the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) filed a petition urging the top court to reconsider its order, on grounds that private labs would find it difficult to carry out tests free of cost.

“We are seeing that the government is doing its best. We are modifying our order. We can say that the government can decide which categories get free testing,” the court said.

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The ICMR, in its affidavit, stated that the tests are already free of cost for Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) beneficiaries — even in private laboratories.

Earlier, private laboratories had called upon the government to come up with modalities so that their service remains sustainable.

The Centre had earlier capped the pricing at Rs 4,500 on each test for 68 private labs in 12 states that were approved.

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