Lebanese MP Wants Coronavirus Testing to Be Free for Everyone

Lindsey Wasson / Reuters

The Ministry of Public Health in Lebanon has earlier announced in a statement “the accreditation of new university laboratories in addition to the laboratory of the Rafic El Hariri Governmental University Hospital to testing the , due to the Hariri Hospital laboratory nearing its capacity.”

These new laboratories, according to the National News Agency, are:

  • American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC)
  • Saint George Hospital University Medical Center
  • Rizk Hospital/LAU Medical Center
  • Rodolphe Merieux USJ/Hotel Dieu De France

The Ministry also pointed out that “any other hospital or private laboratory wishing to conduct the test must submit an application to a specialized committee and then obtain the approval of the Ministry.”

The Ministry set the cost of testing for COVID-19 at 150,000 LBP for individuals who want to take this test.

However, this pricing was criticized by many citizens, including MP Qassem Hashem who apposed the Ministry’s decision, and thought that this should be reconsidered.

This MP said that the test should be free for everyone:

“Although the steps taken by the government and health ministry are good and necessary to limit the spread of the Coronavirus epidemic, making citizens pay the cost of laboratory testing amounting to 150,000 LL in these circumstances can not be accepted.”

Qassem Hashem is a politician and deputy in the Lebanese Parliament. He is also the Secretary of the Arab Socialist Baath Party in its West and Central Bekaa’s branch in Lebanon.