While the number of coronavirus cases is increasing daily, the government has not been able to provide the necessary kits, reagents and other materials for PCR testing, according to the Dharan-based B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (BPKIHS).

Director of the Hospital, Gauri Shankar Shah, informed that free testing had been disrupted since the government stopped providing PCR-testing materials since last four days.

He said, “We have started charging a minimum fee of Rs 2,000 as prescribed by the government for using the kit purchased by the Hospital from its internal sources as the government stopped providing free materials,”

“The state and federal governments had been providing necessary equipment free of cost to the Hospital for PCR testing since March 24 and so we were conducting PCR tests for free. However, in recent times, we have been forced to continue PCR testing by purchasing the kits ourselves as the free kits provided by the government are not available,” Shah informed.

Shah also informed that a circular had been issued by the Hospital to provide free-of-cost PCR tests to health workers of BPKIHS only on the recommendation of a doctor. He said that health officers of other hospitals and general citizens have to pay a minimum fee of Rs 2,000 if they want to undergo PCR test at BPKIHS.

He said, “If the government resumes supply of free kits to the Hospital, we shall also resume conducting PCR tests for free.”

So far, the institute has tested swab samples of 54,186 people in the laboratory under its Microbiology Department while 2,565 have tested positive for coronavirus infection.