Kathmandu Metropolitan City Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya had announced two days ago that the metropolis would conduct free PCR tests for people of the metropolis.
Though the mayor’s announcement is unlikely to be implemented anytime soon, it is learnt that people undergoing free PCR test will be deprived of COVID-19 insurance money if they test positive.
Ishwor Man Dangol, spokesperson of KMC said, “The KMC as per the direction of the federal government has decided that it will not allow people to receive insurance money for COVID-19 if they test positive for the virus after free PCR test provided by the local government.”
Dangol informed that such step was taken in a bid to discourage rich and privileged people from taking the free PCR test, which was targeted underprivileged and needy persons.
Though the initiative might discourage rich and privileged people from taking free PCR test, it will also certainly affect middle class people who have already insured themselves against coronavirus.
Also, it is important to notice that one can get insured against coronavirus for just Rs. 600 per person with benefit of up to 100,000 if they test coronavirus positive, whereas, a PCR test costs 2,800 in a private hospital which is more than four times the amount to get insured.
Mayor Shakya has been criticised earlier for his populist claim that he would build a 100-bed COVID-19 hospital, which never materialised.
Kathmandu is one of the hardest hit COVID-19 cities in the country as nearly 50 per cent of the national daily coronavirus cases is from Kathmandu.