February 07, 2022 12:22
Koreans are up in arms after the government revised its COVID response to offer free PCR tests only to the elderly and vulnerable groups to keep the medical system from being overwhelmed by the Omicron variant.
Many are saying they face massive costs for their own PCR tests, especially family members of suspected cases and other caretakers who are hired by patients (US$1=W1,199)
Hospitals charge between W80,000 and W120,000 for s PCR test. A person who is a caretaker of a family member with cancer posted a complaint on the Cheong Wa Dae website on Friday saying that he has to accompany the patient to hospital once every two weeks, which means W200,000 spent on mandatory PCR tests a month or W2.4 million a year.
Rapid antigen tests are still free at government-run facilities but cost W5,000 in private clinics, and they are less accurate and people who test positive on their RAT must then pay for a PCR test.
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