PCR testing: CID continues probe on ‘fraud’ 

  • Increase testing by govt., private sector says APHNH 

  • Seeks finances, trained staff to enhance testing 

By Yoshitha Perera 


While the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) continues to probe alleged irregularities in the purchase of PCR test kits, the Association of Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes (APHNH) has noted that testing capacity has to be increased in both the government and private sectors in order to manage the Covid-19 situation in the country.

The CID probe into the alleged financial irregularities in the purchase of PCR kits is nearing completion, The Sunday Morning learnt.

Meanwhile, APHNH President Dr. Lakith Peiris told The Sunday Morning that according to his knowledge, there are almost nine PCR labs in the private sector and noted that the country needs to increase that capacity. 

He stated: “Globally, more and more testing, tracing, and isolating is the way of controlling Covid-19, and I think that more tests have to be done. For that, we need to have the financial capability and also technically trained staff to manage the current situation and it is therefore important to increase the capacity of PCR labs at this stage.” 

Mentioning that the Government’s regulatory mechanism on PCR testing is a robust structure, Dr. Peiris said that every PCR lab in the private sector is operating under the watchful eyes of the Health Ministry’s Epidemiology Unit. 

“There is a well-structured regulatory mechanism. Every PCR lab needs to have a virologist attached to it and it becomes the particular virologist’s responsibility to make sure that the quality, the processes, the accuracy, and the protocols are being maintained.” 

Explaining the current regulatory mechanism further, Dr. Peiris added that if there is a Covid-19-positive test result found within a PCR lab, it is transferred to the Epidemiology Unit through a special software, before it goes to the particular patient. 

He further added that from there, it gets communicated to the relevant Medical Officer of Health (MOH) and the Public Health Inspector (PHI). 

Meanwhile, The Sunday Morning learnt that the CID has launched an investigation into an alleged fraud in relation to procuring PCR test kits and personal protective equipment (PPE) by some officials attached to the health sector. 

It was also reported that the CID had initiated the investigation process and that it had recorded several statements from several officials in this regard. 

However, attempts to contact the Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police Ajith Rohana in this regard, proved futile.