In a major about-turn, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh announced on Tuesday that private medical labs with PCR (polymerase chain reaction) machines can do covid19 tests, for a fee, once these labs are fully certified by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).

This measure is an addition to the Public Health Ordinance regulations, under which the private labs will agree to test and report all results directly to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and not to the patient.

This amendment took effect on Monday. Validated labs were warned that breach of this agreement with CARPHA could result in a $50,000 fine or six months’ imprisonment.

Deyalsingh made this annnouncement at the covid19 daily virtual press briefing which was also attended by Minister of National Security Stuart Young and CMO Dr Roshan Parasram.

On March 10, amid reports of doctors sending people with symptoms to private labs for testing, an angry Deyalsingh said the only testing for covid19 would be done by CARPHA.


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