"The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests have been free since the province has its own laboratory facility at the Nusa Cendana University (Undana) Hospital," Governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat said here Sunday.
The East Nusa Tenggara Provincial Government continues to monitor the free services for students pursuing further studies in regions outside the province, and residents who cannot afford to pay for their PCR tests.
"Thus, eligible members of community may come to the Undana Public Hospital to obtain the free COVID-19 swab tests, and the provincial government continues to monitor the services," Governor Laiskodat said.
However, those taking the PCR tests from other healthcare facilities outside the Undana Public Hospital would be charged with required price the government has determined, he added.
Referring to the Health Ministry's circular No.02.02/I/2845/2021 dated on August 16, 2021, the price ceiling for individually-requested RT-PCR tests in Java and Bali is set at Rp495 thousand.
Those taking this COVID-19 swab test in regions outside the two islands are required to pay Rp525 thousand.
Apart from the different amount of money the people must pay for their individually-requested RT-PCR tests, the government's decision to reduce the price cap has received positive responses from the public.
Haryadin Mahardika, an economist from the University of Indonesia (UI), said President Joko Widodo's recent request for reducing the price cap for the individually-requested PCR tests was a right decision.
He argued that it is time for the government to manage the price cap for various COVID-19 testing services, including swab and antigen tests, so that their production costs become transparent and affordable.
By applying the principles of transparency and affordability, the prices of those COVID-19 testing services could publicly be audited, he argued.
President Joko Widodo had recently requested that the ceiling for individually-requested PCR tests be set at between Rp450 thousand and Rp550 thousand.
He had also asked that the results of swab tests be issued within 24 hours of testing.
The government had earlier set the price cap for individually-requested PCR tests at Rp900 thousand, and rapid antigen tests at Rp250 thousand for the island of Java and Rp275 thousand for areas outside Java.
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