BusinessDay

Lagos cuts cost of COVID-19 PCR test by 10% in private labs

The Lagos State government has cut the cost of the COVID-19 PCR test by 10.2 percent to N45,250 in accredited private laboratories, after charging one of the costliest rates in Africa over a year.

The rate was pegged at N50, 400 in Lagos and was backed by the Presidential Steering Committee when private labs were brought into the testing scheme to ramp up the country’s capacity.

Testing at the new rate has been approved by the governor and will kick off on Friday, January 28, Akin Abayomi, the state commissioner for health said on Wednesday in a statement signed by Tunbosun Ogunbanwo, director, Public Affairs.

The commissioner said the reduction is aimed at easing the cost incurred by citizens who need the PCR tests for travel, work, or other purposes other than COVID symptoms or contact tracing.

“For those that need to travel and require a private PCR test, the Lagos State government has recommended a reduction in the cost of COVID-19 PCR test at the accredited private laboratories consortium from N50,400 to N45,250,” Abayomi said.

“You will recall that the N50,400 initial PCR test fee charged at the private laboratories was a fixed amount approved by the Governor during the expansion of our testing to include the private laboratories consortium in the first wave.

This strategy was to expand testing outlets available to the public but more importantly to ensure price control standardization and avoid exploitation of the public, as there were huge cost variations in PCR testing in the private sector ranging from N70,000 to as high as N300,000 per PCR test.”

Read also: COVID-19: NPHCDA expands vaccination sites to include childhood vaccines

The commissioner urged citizens, particularly inbound passengers required to test on arrival to book, pay and get tested on arrival in Lagos.

He added that further reviews will be made in due course, especially as the ongoing COVID vaccination campaign gains momentum.

Meanwhile, PCR tests at approved public health laboratories and sample collection centers around the state remain free for citizens who need to test for COVID after expressing symptoms or have been exposed to a positive case.

He frowned at the use of fake PCR tests and COVID vaccination cards in filing travel information to bypass the national COVID guidelines.

“It has come to the notice of the State Government that certain returning passengers present themselves at the airport either with fake COVID-9 PCR tests or fake vaccination cards or registering as children under 10 years to bypass the National guidelines or providing false COVID related information.

“These acts will not be tolerated as they represent the main catalyst of all the four waves which have had a major impact on the state public health systems and the economy.

“Whilst we understand that it may not have been the fault of passengers but facilitated by unscrupulous individuals assisting them, we have taken a decision not to submit their passports for deactivation by the Presidential Steering Committee, in the first instance, but give them an opportunity to present themselves at our mobile court to defend themselves and help identify where they are obtaining the fake documents if applicable”, Abayomi said.

He disclosed that confirmed defaulters would be subject to fines or community service as the acts are criminal in nature.

“In the meantime, we have submitted the first 200 names of individuals who have failed to present themselves at the mobile courts to the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) and their passports have been deactivated for a period of one year. These will be published in the dailies in the coming week and the next set of names will follow in the coming month. We encourage all those who have received a text message to present themselves at the mobile court to avoid these sanctions”, the commissioner stated.

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