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Lancet Kenya not authorised to carry out drive through coronavirus tests – Govt

The government has ordered Pathologists Lancet Kenya who have been offering coronavirus testing for Sh13,000 through a drive-through model to stop because it is not authorised.

Lancet Kenya on Wednesday had said it will assign lab personnel to collect test samples from those being tested in their cars without having them enter the laboratory.

“We’ve introduced drive-through sample collection for Covid-19 test at our main lab in Upper Hill Nairobi and at some of our selected branch labs countrywide, where our lab personnel are trained and equipped to take the samples,” said Lancet Kenya.

But speaking on Friday, Ministry of Health Director General Dr Patrick Amoth said the laboratory had not been licensed to carry out drive-through tests.

“We have not accredited a drive-through system for sample collection. In fact, I have talked to my friend, the person who runs Lancet to advise him to desist from that practice,” said Dr Amoth.

CS Kagwe also announced that the government will on Saturday begin random screening of members of the public at targeted areas.

Ebola champions will help with coronavirus response interventions, he said.

In an advertisement, Lancet had said the results of the tests will be released within three to six days depending on the workload in the laboratory and prioritisation of the cases.

The highest priority will be given to hospitalised patients, high-risk patients (elderly and immunosuppressed) and indexed cases in a defined closed community, they added.

The test is recommended for those with symptoms of acute respiratory illness with sudden onset of either a new cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, fever and have travelled to an area where there is Covid-19 transmission.

Those who have been in close contact with a confirmed or probable case Covid-19, or worked in or attended a healthcare facility where patients are being treated or admitted to hospital with severe pneumonia should also get tested.

Last week, a doctor was arrested alongside his employee for advertising fake Covid-19 test kits and freed by a Nairobi court on a Sh150,000 bail after being charged.

Dr Pravan Pancholi, the proprietor of Avane Clinic in Nairobi, and his co-accused Ndinda Kaleve denied making a false advert claiming to sell coronavirus test kits.

The suspects were arrested in a raid by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council at Yaya Centre, Nairobi.

The dermatology and medical spa had issued a flier claiming to offer Covid-19 tests just days after Kenya confirmed its first case of the virus.

The duo’s arrest comes just days after Mr Kagwe issued a stern warning against businesspeople profiteering off the pandemic.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story attributed the statement on Lancet Laboratory to Health CS Mutahi Kagwe. We have since established that the order was issued by Ministry of Health Director General Dr Patrick Amoth. The article also said that the lab is not licensed to carry out coronavirus tests. We have since established that what has not been licensed is the drive-through system for sample collection.