The Lagos State Government has announced a reduction in the cost of COVID-19 PCR test at its accredited private laboratories from fifty thousand, four hundred naira to forty-five thousand, two hundred and fifty naira per PCR test commencing from Friday, 28th of January, 2022.
The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, who made this known to reporters at Alausa, Ikeja, noted that the COVID-19 PCR test cost was reviewed by Lagos State COVID-19 Incident Command Structure and approved by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
According to Prof. Abayomi, the government will continue to ensure heightened public surveillance for COVID and ensure access to free PCR testing at all its public health facilities.
The Commissioner said the cost reduction was to cut the expenses incurred by citizens who need the PCR tests for travel, work, or other purposes other than COVID symptoms or contact tracing.
“In line with the directive of Mr Governor, the Lagos State Biobank has reviewed the processes involved in conducting a COVID-19 PCR test at the accredited private laboratories consortium and, based on this, made a recommendation to the Governor for a reduction.”
“For those that need to travel and require a private PCR test, the Lagos State Government has recommended a reduction in the cost of COVID-19 PCR test at the accredited private laboratories consortium from fifty thousand, four hundred naira to forty-five thousand, two hundred and fifty naira commencing on 28th of January 2022.”
“You will recall that fifty thousand, four hundred naira initial PCR test fee charged at the private laboratories was a fixed amount approved by the Governor during the expansion of our testing to include the private laboratories consortium in the first wave” “This strategy was to expand testing outlets available to the public but more importantly to ensure price control standardization and avoid exploitation of the public, as there were huge cost variations in PCR testing in the private sector ranging from seventy thousand naira to as high as three hundred thousand naira per PCR test.”
“Mr Governor has approved the reduction in the cost of the PCR test, bringing us to the new cost of forty-five thousand, two hundred and fifty naira per PCR test. What this implies is that the Lagos State Government will enforce the new cost of PCR tests conducted at the private laboratories’ consortium”.
While explaining that the strategy was to expand testing outlets available to the public, the Commissioner said the step would address price control standardization and exploitation of the public.
The Commissioner called on citizens, particularly inbound passengers required by law to test on arrival, to reciprocate this gesture by booking, paying, and presenting themselves at any accredited laboratories’ consortium at approved days for their PCR tests on arrival in Lagos.
Prof. Abayomi, however, noted that PCR tests at approved public health laboratories and sample collection centres around the State remains free for citizens who need to test for COVID; either because they have COVID like symptoms or have been exposed to a positive case.
He frowned at the dubious and irresponsible actions of some inbound passengers who present fake PCR tests and COVID vaccination cards and fill in false travel information in an attempt to bypass the national COVID guidelines.
“It has come to the notice of the State Government that certain returning passengers present themselves at the airport either with fake COVID-9 PCR tests or fake vaccination cards or registering as children under ten years to bypass the National guidelines or providing false COVID related information.”
“These acts will not be tolerated as they represent the main catalyst of all the four waves which have had a major impact on the State public health systems and the economy. Whilst we understand that it may not have been the fault of passengers but facilitated by unscrupulous individuals assisting them, we have taken a decision not to submit their passports for deactivation by the Presidential Steering Committee, in the first instance, but allow them to present themselves at our mobile court to defend themselves and help identify where they are obtaining the fake documents if applicable.”
He disclosed that confirmed defaulters would be subject to fines or community service as the acts are criminal.
“In the meantime, we have submitted the first two hundred names of individuals who have failed to present themselves at the mobile courts to the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC), and their passports have been deactivated for one year.”
Prof. Abayomi added that affected persons had been sent a text message, and they are expected to present themselves at the mobile court to avoid these sanctions.