Govt lets two private labs collect swab samples, breaching own guideline

File: Ministry of Health

Kathmandu, July 13

The government has allowed to private labs of Kathmandu to collect swab samples on their own for coronavirus tests though a guideline issued earlier says the private labs can test the samples after they are collected by other government-run health centres and labs.

Among the six private labs that received approval to conduct coronavirus tests, the labs of Star Hospital in Sanepa of Lalitpur and Kathmandu Medical College Teaching Hospital in Sinamangal of Kathmandu have been allowed to collect samples also, according to the Ministry of Health spokesperson Jageshwor Gautam.

The ministry officials say the two hospitals can test their own patients as well as those requiring coronavirus test certificates to go abroad and staff of foreign diplomatic agencies. However, the ministry’s own guideline clearly mentions that all private labs will be allowed to test the samples provided by the government only.

While other lab operators have expressed their dissatisfaction over ‘discrimination’ against them, some have suspected that the ministry’s such an act could involve financial irregularities.

National Public Health Laboratory’s chief Runa Jha also says it was the ministry, not the lab, that made the decision.

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