Govt.-Opp. clash over import of COVID-19 antigen tests

Saturday, 14 November 2020 00:23 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Opp. alleges irregularities in process
  • Govt. says tests kits will not be used until guidelines issued

Government and Opposition lawmakers clashed in Parliament yesterday over the awarding of a tender to import COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test kits to a private company, with the Opposition alleging irregularities in the process.

SJB MP Rajitha Senaratne alleged the tender to import the antigen kits were given to a company without following proper procedure and without validation from the National Medical Regulatory Authority (NMRA).

“The Rapid Antigen Test is being used in hospitals without the approval of a Technical Evaluation Committee, which is going through tender applications and without the guidelines of the Health Ministry,” he said during an adjournment debate on the COVID-19 situation in the country.

State Minister of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals Channa Jayasumana however denied the allegations and said the tests would not be carried out until the Health Ministry issued guidelines on how to use these kits.

“The allegation made by former Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne that Rapid Antigen Test kits are being used without NMRA or Health Ministry validation is wrong. The Government was compelled to expedite the tender process for the procurement of Rapid Antigen Test kits as there is a public health emergency in Sri Lanka,” he said.

Jayasumana said that there was no connection between the Rapid Antigen and Rapid Antibody tests as the former was a test done to identify whether a person was infected with COVID-19 virus while the latter was to check for antibodies which occur after a patient has recovered from the virus.


Dual cluster expands to 12,695 cases, with 468 persons testing positive