Mar 13, 2020

Facilities for COVID-19 testing, minimal - Ravi

Facilities to identify COVID-19 positive patients are minimal, says President of the Sri Lanka Society for Medical Laboratory Science (SMLS) - Ravi Kumudesh.

Noting that the existing method to test for COVID-19 is the 'Corona PCR' test, he said that the facility exists in only one lab.

Although the testing can be completed in 06 hours, the number of tests that can be done in a day is limited to 80 and this could result in delays leading up to several days, he notes.

Although the necessary lab equipment and staff exists in three labs located in the Karapitiya Hospital, Kandy Hospital and Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital, none of these labs have commenced tests, he charges.

He says that this raises doubts whether there is a certain attempt to maintain a 'monopoly' with regard to COVID-19 testing.

He also notes that a private hospital has also commenced testing for COVID-19 and a single test costs Rs. 17,000. 

He warns that this fee could increase if the demand goes up in the future.

Noting that there are equipment which enables to complete the above test in just 20 minutes, and if needed, it is possible to order and procure them within a few days, he adds.