Staff Correspondent

SHILLONG, March 24: The Meghalaya Government has slashed the rates for COVID -19 tests in the State. This will benefit those entering the State without virus test reports.

According to a Health Department notification, the rapid antigen test (RAT) rate has been halved from Rs 500 to Rs 250. The Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test rate has been reduced to Rs 500 from Rs 1,000.

According to a recent notification, a person entering Meghalaya from any State or Union Territory possessing a valid final certificate of vaccination or a COVID-19 negative report will be exempted from being tested at the entry point.

However, a negative RT-PCR, TruNat or CBAAT report is mandatory for persons arriving from Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab and Karnataka.

“RAT negative reports shall not be valid for persons coming from these four States. The COVID negative report will be valid only if they were tested within 72 hours of their arrival at the entry point,” the notification added.

Moreover, “in view of the possibility of the emergence of new strains and the rise in the number of cases in other States,” it has been made mandatory for all people entering Meghalaya to register themselves prior to their travel.

Samples for RT-PCR tests will be taken from those who do not have a COVID-19 negative report, at the entry point on payment. Such persons will proceed to their residence or place of stay and be quarantined till the test results are declared, the notification added.

However, those belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL) can get the tests done free of cost. Moreover, individuals identified as “high risk in containment zones” by the Health Department will also be tested free.

So far, 3,95,112 persons have been tested in the State. Out of this, 3,81,093 have tested negative. As many as 14,019 have tested positive till date. There are 22 active cases in the State and 149 have succumbed to the infection.

Meanwhile, 13,539 health care and 11,962 frontline workers have received their second vaccination dose.

Overall 13,697 elderly persons above the age of 60 years have received their first dose. As many as 4,695 individuals in the age group of 45 to 59 years with comorbidities have received their first vaccination shot.