On Saturday, Maharashtra, the hardest-hit state in India from the coronavirus pandemic, halved rates for COVID-19 tests conducted at private laboratories to Rs 2,200 from Rs 4,500.
"Rs 2,200 will be charged for collecting the swabs through viral transport media (VTM) from hospitals, while it would cost Rs 2,800 for collection of swab from home. Earlier, the charges were Rs 4,500 and Rs 5,200 respectively," said state health minister Rajesh Tope, adding that the new rates are the lowest in the country.
He further said that the revised rates are the maximum these labs can charge, which means that district collectors can negotiate with private labs to reduce the rates more.
Legal action will be taken against private labs charging more than the prescribed limit.
Maharashtra has 95 labs to screen for COVID-19, of which 54 are government entities while others are private.
The state has reported over 1 lakh cases of COVID-19 as on Friday, with at least 3,700 dead. Recovery rate in the state is 47.34 percent while the mortality rate is at 3.7 percent.
However, the state capital, Mumbai, has a high testing rate of 19,042 tests for every million when compared to 13,466 in Delhi and 3,878 in Bengaluru.