COVID-19 tests were being carried out illegally without the permission of ICMR! A complaint, containing such serious allegations against a private-run diagnostic lab in the Phulbagan area of Kolkata, was submitted to the West Bengal State Health Department a few days ago. The department has investigated the matter and was led to believe that the lab was indeed performing COVID-19 tests without possessing the necessary approval of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). State authorities then took strict action.

On Wednesday morning, the lab in Phulbagan was sealed and will remain closed temporarily. Lab authorities have also been fined Rs 10 lakh. The health department didn't stop there. Police have been directed to take legal action by filing an FIR against lab authorities.

'Taking a serious view of the matter, the state government has ordered the immediate closure/sealing of M/s Tirbeni Clinics... .. Kolkata along with a fine of Rs 10,00,000 (Rupees ten lakh) under the relevant section of the West Bengal Clinical Establishment (Registration, Regulation and Transparency Act), 2017', the public notice informing about the action stated. The notice also advised the public to approach only ICMR approved laboratories to test for Covid-19 based on a prescription from a hospital or a doctor.

Initially, all samples of suspected COVID-19 patients in India were tested only in ICMR labs. Later, several other government-run labs in the country were allowed to perform COVID-19 tests. Currently, as the number of coronavirus cases increase at a rapid rate, the capacity to carry out tests has also increased. Therefore, in addition to the government labs, ICMR has now approved about 100 private laboratories across the country. There are six private-run diagnostic labs of West Bengal in that list. However, the name of the accused private lab of Phulbagan isn’t included.