COVID-19: Airport lab issued notice for overcharging on RT-PCR tests

Hyderabad: The state’s Director for Public Health has issued a show-cause notice to Mapmygenome India Limited laboratory for allegedly charging passengers more than Rs 500 for COVID-19 RT-PCR tests at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA).

The Director of Public Health and Family Welfare (DPH&FW) on Saturday issued the notice after receiving complaints from international passengers who alleged that the lab charged passengers more than the rate prescribed by the Telangana government.

The laboratory has been given 48 hours to reply, failing which the DPH&FW will take action against them based on available materials.

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The Mapmygenome lab at the RGIA is an ICMR and NABL certified lab that was launched in November 2020 to ease travel for passengers having onward connections, who may be in need of mandatory RT-PCR tests. The lab operates 24/7 for passengers and airport personnel. 

THE OMICRON VARIANT

The newest addition to the variants of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Omicron, is highly divergent with a high number of mutations, including 26-32 in the spike, some of which are of concern and may be associated with immune escape potential and higher transmissibility. However, there are still considerable uncertainties, said the World Health Organaisation.

“Given mutations that may confer immune escape potential and possible transmissibility advantage, the likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron at the global level is high”, said the WHO.

The global health body further added that there could be future surges of Covid-19, which could have severe consequences, depending on a number of factors including where surge may take place. The overall global risk related to the new variant is assessed as very high.

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