No Covid-19 tests at pvt. hospitals


  • Health Ministry approval still pending

Private hospitals are yet to receive the approval of the Ministry of Health to conduct Covid-19 tests, despite an announcement by the Government last week saying they would be permitted to carry out the tests under stringent conditions.

As of yesterday (21) evening, out of the leading private hospitals in Colombo, only Lanka Hospitals in Narahenpita has been conducting the Covid-19 test for patients showing symptoms and had been admitted to the hospital, The Sunday Morning investigations revealed.

The other private hospitals have not yet begun conducting tests and are awaiting Health Ministry approval, staff members of those hospitals told The Sunday Morning when inquired.

Initially, the Government strictly prohibited private hospitals from conducting the Covid-19 tests, but with the increase in the number of confirmed cases, the Government last week decided to permit private hospitals to conduct tests under strict guidelines.

Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Dr. Anil Jasinghe announced that private hospitals would have to conduct the test at a cost of Rs. 6,000 and the procedure would only be allowed for patients admitted to the hospital and only in cases where the patient showed symptoms.

However, when asked, Lanka Hospitals refused to divulge the cost for the test.

Furthermore, until suspicious patients are examined, all private hospitals have been instructed to keep the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (IDH) informed, and once the result is received, it must be notified as well, irrespective of whether the result is positive or negative.

The test reports must be released within 24 hours and the tests should be conducted only on a specialist’s advice. Dr. Jasinghe added that private hospitals may also use government laboratories to conduct such tests at a cost of Rs. 6,000.

He further said that conducting Covid-19 tests will be suspended at private hospitals that do not comply with the aforementioned guidelines.