Coronavirus updates: Health ministry asks states to form expert groups to determine COVID-19 test rates

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December 01, 2020 7:59 PM

In response to a question posed at a press briefing, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said deciding the rates of the tests does not come under the purview of the Centre, and is a state matter.

Sixteen states and UTs have weekly positivity rate less than the national average.Sixteen states and UTs have weekly positivity rate less than the national average.

The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday said it had issued written directions to states and Union Territories to form expert groups to study the market and determine the rates of COVID-19 tests.

In response to a question posed at a press briefing, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said deciding the rates of the tests does not come under the purview of the Centre, and is a state matter.

“However, the Centre gives recommendations to the state and Union Territories from time to time on deciding the rate of tests in a rational and transparent manner.

“Last week, the Union health ministry wrote to all states to set up an expert group to study the market and determine the testing rates. The states have adopted different ways to fix the rates,” he said.

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director General Balram Bhargava said with the increase in production of kits by indigenous manufacturers, the price of COVID-19 testing kits has come down to Rs 75 for RT-PCR kits and Rs 37 for RNA kits.

“The price has come dramatically down. India has started exporting the kits and the demand is much less than the supply, so the price has come down,” Bhargava said.

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