Punjab CM moots Coronavirus testing by private hospitals, labs

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amainder Singh on Thursday urged the Centre to allow private hospitals and labs to conduct tests in order to ensure access to all the people, even as the state reported its first case of Corona death.

The CM said he will take up the issue of testing by private hospitals and labs with the Prime Minister on Friday during the latter’s proposed Video Conference with all the Chief Ministers.

With the number of cases increasing in the country, the Centre has to consider reviewing its policy, stressed the Chief Minister, making it clear that he did not agree with the current policy of the Union Government in this regard.

Given the fact that Punjab had private labs in all the major cities, it was not logical for a Corona suspect to have to travel to Chandigarh or some other place to get himself tested from a government facility. Only in case of doubt should such a person be required to go elsewhere for a second test, he added.

He shared this suggestion while speaking at a summit conclave to mark the third anniversary of his government.

While he was not a pessimist,  yet since the novel virus had just entered India, he observed the problem was likely to escalate, in line with the graph followed by other countries. “We have to be prepared in every way,” he asserted adding that despite state’s financial crunch, all necessary funds would be made available to ensure adequate testing, isolation and treatment facilities.

On the issue of congregations at gurdwaras and other religious places, the Chief Minister said he had already requested the religious heads to limit the gatherings to under 50 and to appeal to the devotees from their podiums not to gather in large numbers. He was hopeful that the religious heads would support the move, said Captain Amarinder, adding that the government was not harassing people but was trying to save lives.