SC orders govt to provide free of cost COVID-19 test to low-income people

Published On: May 27, 2020 11:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 27: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the government to make necessary arrangements to provide a free of cost tests for coronavirus (COVID-19) to low-income people.

A single bench of Justice Tej Bahadur KC issued a stay order to this effect in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a group of lawyers including Advocate Santosh Bhandari. The next hearing has been scheduled for Sunday, directing authorities concerned to attend the hearing.

The apex court directed the government authorities — the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Health and the Department of Health -- to arrange free of cost COVID-19 tests to those who have less than Rs 275,000 annual income. The apex court has also asked the government to provide such facilities to  those who live below the extreme poverty line or those who hail from the districts that are highly infected by the COVID-19 or those who have returned home from countries other than India and have less than Rs 700,000 annual income.

The bench was responding to the writ petition that demanded free of cost COVID-19 to every citizen of the country as basic health rights have been guaranteed in the constitution itself.

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