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Coronavirus | Plea in Supreme Court seeks free COVID-19 testing

A laboratory technician places a tag on a box containing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing kit at a sample collection centre in Ahmedabad on March 26, 2020.

A laboratory technician places a tag on a box containing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing kit at a sample collection centre in Ahmedabad on March 26, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

It challenges legality of March 17 advisory that caps the price for testing at ₹4,500.

A petition was filed on Tuesday in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the government to provide free COVID-19 testing in all laboratories, including private ones.

Also read | Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India

The plea, filed by Delhi resident Shashank Deo Sudhi, challenged the legality of a March 17 advisory that caps the price for Coronavirus testing at ₹4500. Mr. Sudhi said the advisory was both discriminatory and a violation of the fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.

“It is extremely difficult for the common citizen to get himself/herself tested in the government hospital/labs and being no alternative in the sight, the people are constrained to pay the capped amount to the private hospital/labs for protecting their lives. The respondents are completely insensitive and indifferent to the plight of the common citizen of the country who are already financially burdened on account of completely locked down with no possibility of being unlocked in recent future”, the petition said.

In the alternative, the petition asked the court to direct the court to “ramp up the testing facilities at the earliest, given the escalating mortality and morbidity rate across the country”.

Also read | Use more masks, India's top science advisory body recommends

Mr. Sudhi said ideally the COVID-19 tests should be conducted under NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories) accredited pathological laboratories as the non-accredited labs were not conforming to the standards of global best practices prescribed by International Laboratory Accreditation Co-operation (ILAC) and Asia Pacific Accreditation Co-operation (APAC).

Also read | WHO warns ‘far from over’ in Asia and Pacific

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 6:59:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-plea-in-supreme-court-seeks-free-covid-19-testing/article31220785.ece

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