MUMBAI: The most common question being asked in the city is where can one get oneself tested for the novel coronavirus. People want testing to be available at their neighborhood diagnostic laboratories, but given the recent emergence of the virus, there are not enough probes and kits to be distributed.
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As per government rules, the only designated testing centre is BMC’s molecular diagnostic laboratory at Kasturba Hospital. Many have complained about how the lab is not easily accessible, and few private laboratories should be given permission to perform the test. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said the government would seek the Centre’s permission for testing to be available at few private centres.
“But the minute private laboratories come into the picture, pricing will become the central issue,” said a senior BMC doctor.
During the H1N1 outbreak, private laboratories were not given permission to carry out tests until after a few months of the outbreak. Rampant charges of overpricing led the government to cap prices. “Also, no laboratory can do the test without a hospital prescription,” said the doctor.
As Covid-19 is new, the kits are still under government control. “But the government can give access to private labs with guidelines and rules. The private labs are lobbying hard for an opportunity,” said a state government official.
Kasturba has adequate kits, probes and reagents to cater to the city, said a civic official.
Civic chief Pravin Pardeshi said he would ask the government to open up private laboratories and hospitals for Covid-19 management. Barely a few 100 samples can be tested a day across the three public laboratories and barely 300 ventilators are available in public hospitals in Mumbai. tnn