Karnataka government has made arrangements for passengers coming from high-risk states to undergo COVID test at private laboratories for Rs 650, an official said on Friday. "The state has decided to test certain specific groups of passengers to minimize the spread of COVID. Further, the capacity available with private labs could be utilized to the maximum extent," ordered Health and Family Welfare Commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey. This initiative has been taken to quicken COVID testing.
"Each traveller will be charged a fee of Rs 650 per test by the private lab irrespective of the test result being positive or negative," said Pandey.
All international and domestic air passengers should get tested at Xcyton Diagnostics in Bengaluru and all inter-state rail passengers have been offered a list of six laboratories.
The six private labs are Neuberg Anand Reference Laboratories, Cancyte Technologies, Aster Lab, Narayana Hrudayalaya Lab, Vydehi Hospital and Lab and Syngene International.
"The airport authorities, railways, etc... will provide necessary space for establishing swab collections kiosks or centres free of cost," he said.
In the event of a passenger testing positive, the jurisdictional district health and family welfare officer or chief health officer of the civic body should be intimated for necessary movement and medical isolation.
The Health and Family Welfare Department held a meeting with private laboratories to assess their capacity and readiness to collect swabs and test them under RT-PCR procedure within a turnaround time of 24 hours.
The private labs have agreed to the task and are required to collect the swabs at airports, railway stations and hotels or as required by the government.
Pandey has also ordered the deputy commissioners of the remaining 29 districts to link the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) approved private laboratories with the passengers in the same fashion as how the city civic body has done.
Karnataka government has taken this decision as it is grappling with limited institutional quarantine capacity.
"All the passengers from the high-risk states cannot be quarantined for seven days in hotels, lodges...This is due to the fact that many migrant workers in the hospitality sector have left for their home states in east and northeast India," said the commissioner.
(With PTI inputs)