The Andhra Pradesh government has decided to cap the rates of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) for COVID-19 at both government-run and private laboratories. According to a Government Order released on Monday, Private National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH) affiliated Labs, approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), are allowed to charge up to Rs 750 per a test. In line with the AP government’s directives, Visakhapatnam District Collector, V Vinay Chand, announced that individuals can now get a test done at ICMR approved private labs in the district.
On Monday, a district-level task force meeting was held at Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region Development Authority (VMRDA) Children’s Arena. Speaking on the occasion, Andhra Pradesh Tourism Minister, Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rrao directed the authorities to facilitate more beds at hospitals, given the recent spurt in COVID-19 cases. He further ordered the district administration to increase the medical staff attending COVID duties.
Sharing the testing strategy implemented in the district, Mr Chand informed that over one lakh samples have been tested for COVID-19 until 27 July in Visakhapatnam. He explained that asymptomatic patients without co-morbidities are being allowed to opt for home isolation to ease down the burden on hospitals, enabling the institutions to provide effective medical care to critically ill individuals. Elaborating further, the Collector said that a total of 22 public and private hospitals, comprising 7,000 beds, have been set up to address COVID-19 cases in Vizag.
Noting the current shortage of doctors and staff in the district, he informed that doctors from the Indian Medical Association (IMA) will soon join duties. Mr Chand further requested the citizens to undergo testing for COVID-19 only if deemed necessary. However, those who wish to get themselves tested can now approach ICMR approved private labs in Visakhapatnam, where Rs 750 will be charged for COVID-19 test. During the meeting, Visakhapatnam District Collector said that special officers and doctors have been deployed in wards under the purview of the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC). Ambulances and 104 vehicles are available round-the-clock in rural areas as well as the regions under the GVMC limits, he added.