The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Center to ensure that coronavirus aka COVID-19 tests will be conducted for free in both state-run and private diagnostic labs. Although, these tests are already free at government hospitals but some private labs were charging up to Rs 4,500 for the test, which will be now against the law. The decision by the Apex court was taken in response to a Public Interest Litigation or PIL questioning that how can someone charge at the time epidemic.

Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Ravindra Bhat said, while hearing the plea through video conferencing, said the private labs may ask for reimbursment from the government later.

The Supreme Court found that at the time of epidemic, private labs are charging Rs 4,500 for coronavirus screening and confirmation. A large number of population cannot afford the amount at this time and no person should be deprived to undergo the COVID-19 test due to non- payment.

Thus, the court came to a conclusion that the petitioner has made a valid point and it is directed to accredited private labs to conduct free of cost COVID-19 test adding that they may ask for the payment later, which will also be decided by the court.

Meanwhile, Delhi Duty CM Manish Sisodia said masks or covering face will be compulsory for the people stepping outdoors. He added if a person violates directions, stringent actions will be taken against him/her.

The number of coronavirus positive cases in India climbed to 5,000, while 149 people have lost their lives so far.

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