Private clinics are charging excessive prices to the public for COVID-19 testing using the Rapid Antigen Test kits.

Reports say some private clinics are charging as high as SBD$300 for testing.

The Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) are largely donated from development partners, aimed at controlling and understanding the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Opposition Leader Mathew Wale has also questioned why private clinics are charging for RATs tests.

“If the ministry of health is collaborating with private clinics to administer testing, then it should be free and people should not pay for it,” he said.

However, one of the main private clinics offering the service say they are charging for the COVID tests because they procured and paid for the test kits themselves and it is not from the government.

It is understood a RATs test kit costs between USD$22-USD$43 per kit before shipment costs. One kit is used per test, and is used largely as a screening tool to help detect potential COVID-19 virus indicators within 15 minutes.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has indicated that one in two residents in Honiara has the virus. This is understood to be based on modeling, and not necessarily on testing.

There are not enough RATs kit available to do general testing, so there is no way of knowing the true extent of the spread.

Despite continuous announcements by the Ministry of Health that community testing will be done, to date, no testing has been conducted outside of primary and secondary contact tracing tests.