The government has given permission to three private laboratories to conduct PCR tests.
Communication Officer with the National Public Health Laboratory, that was delegated the authority to decide about private laboratories, Rajesh Kumar Gupta said Kathmandu Medical College, Star Hospital and Central Diagnostic Laboratory have been given permission in the first stage.
The Health Ministry will now send excess samples that the government laboratories cannot test to these laboratories for testing. "A team has been formed in the ministry. We will send the extra samples to the laboratories that the team instructs us to send them to," Gupta added.
He revealed that monitoring will also be done for the remaining seven private laboratories that have applied for permission to grant permission.
The ministry, however, has yet to decide when testing in private laboratories will start despite giving permission to the three as it deems that government laboratories can take the burden.
The 23 laboratories across the country are currently doing around 4,000 tests a day with the highest one-day record of just over 7,000. The government is preparing to set up 10 new laboratories for PCR testing.
Pressure for testing is also low with the number of quarantined persons falling significantly in recent days. The new testing guidelines say even those in quarantine facilities do not need PCR test if they are asymptomatic.
The government will pay Rs 5,500 for each test the private laboratories do but many private laboratories complain that the rate is too low.
The government while issuing the standards at first had said private laboratories should have three PCR machines for eligibility even as no government laboratory apart from the National Public Health Laboratory in Teku has three. It had later corrected the standards and said even those with just one machine would qualify.
Published Date: Wednesday, Ashar 17, 2077, 12:18:00