Coronavirus (Covid-19)Thailand

Cost of PCR tests reduced by 200 baht at labs run by Department of Medical Sciences

PHOTO: PR Phuket

The Department of Medical Sciences is cutting the cost of real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests by 200 baht. However, the reduction only applies to laboratories under the DMS. The price of PCR test kits remains unchanged.

According to a Nation Thailand report, the fee is being reduced from 1,300 baht to 1,000 baht, in a bid to encourage more accurate testing as officials remain on alert for the arrival of the Omicron variant. The variant was first identified in South Africa last week, but little is currently known about the threat it might pose. The World Health Organisation has categorised it as a, “variant of concern”.

Meanwhile, Dr Supphakit Siriluck from the DMS has confirmed the reduction in fees for PCR testing at the department’s labs.

“The new rate is applicable for testing at laboratories under the Department of Medical Sciences only. They are located at the Thai National Institute of Health, the Genomics Medicine Centre, and the Medical Sciences Centre. The price of the RT-PCR test kits, however, will remain the same.”

Supphakit says PCR testing remains the most accurate means of rapidly detecting Covid-19 infection.

“RT-PCR is the method recommended by the World Health Organisation as it can accurately detect the new coronavirus in patients within only a few hours.”

According to the DMS chief, there have been no cases of Omicron reported in Thailand at this time.

“The department has been monitoring the spreading Omicron variant globally via various sources, including the GISAid network. We will notify the public immediately if any Omicron case is detected in the country.”

Government officials are currently attempting to trace hundreds of travellers who have arrived from various African countries since November 15. The travellers are being urged to come forward for free PCR testing.

As a result of the emergence of the Omicron variant, the Thai government has had to backtrack on plans to replace PCR testing for international arrivals with cheaper antigen test kits.

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SOURCE: Nation Thailand

Maya Taylor

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