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Jamaica: Tufton expresses concern about ‘pop-up’ labs that offer COVID tests

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, has expressed concern at what he has described as “pop-up testing sites” for COVID-19 as reported in the media over the past several weeks.

Tufton, who was addressing a virtual press conference to update the country on the Government’s COVID-19 response on Monday, pointed to the “number of persons now offering (laboratory) tests of all types and using methods that, in some instances, are not validated, and charging fees too…that are astronomically high when compared to the cost of these test kits”.

According to media reports over the past several weeks, individuals and entities have set up testing sites at the back of plazas and under tents in some instances where they offer antigen and PCR tests for COVID-19 at inflated prices. Concern was expressed that the unsanctioned testing sites could affect the accuracy of the COVID-19 data of the Ministry of Health and Wellness as persons who test positive may not report their status to the relevant authorities.

Tufton told the press conference that although the ministry recognises the right of a doctor to perform some tests, “there’s also a duty of care that must be attained to ensure the health and safety of all concerned”. He said the ministry reiterates the need for appropriate certification and accreditation of all private individuals and companies that want to carry out testing for COVID-19.

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