Coronavirus tests are now going to be free only for poor: SC amends order

Coronavirus testing has been an increased concern and now, the SC has made amendments regarding free testing.

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Coronavirus is a pandemic that has left the entire world suffering. Meanwhile, people who are suffering a little more are the poor. While many people are trying to come to the rescue of many, additional assistance is a need.

On Monday, the Supreme court has amended a verdict that they laid out in the last week as far as people getting free COVID 10 tests in private labs are concerned.

A two-judge bench comprising of justices Ashok Bhushan and S Ravindra Bhat has amended the verdict and has now ordered that only those who cannot afford the tests will be tested for free. The tests cost Rs. 4500, and those who can afford it will have to pay for it.

At first, the court had declared that those eligible under the Ayushman Bharat scheme wouldn’t have to pay for it. Besides, the center was also asked to notify other economically weaker sections that must and should be tested for free.

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“The government…. may consider as to whether any other categories of weaker sections of the society e.g., workers belonging to low-income groups in the informal sectors, beneficiaries of Direct Benefit Transfer, etc., apart from those covered under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Aroogya Yojana are also eligible for the benefit of free testing and issue appropriate guidelines in the above regard also within a period of one week,” the court said.

However, the idea is not to put the burden of dealing with the financial crisis and give away free testing for everyone. Guidelines are supposed to be set up so that the private labs can be reimbursed for the costs incurred over the free tests.

It was on April 8 that the order regarding free tests was made. It comes to post a petition that was filed by lawyer Shashank Deo Sudhi. He went on to say how being tested at government hospitals is rather difficult since they are par capacity, and so, people were forced to go to private labs.

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Ultimately, the judges agreed, and so, a verdict regarding the same was given.

Now, a doctor from Delhi put forth the argument that private labs are forced to bear the financial burden, and this would, in turn, discourage them, leading to fewer tests being conducted.

He went on to say, “Even the present capacity of the labs, both government and private, appears to be woefully insufficient to obtain accurate data and control the pandemic.”

The Centre’s Indian Council of Medical Research has now been asked to make the modifications as far as orders regarding free tests are concerned post the amended verdict.

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