Over 50 crore Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme beneficiaries will be provided with free coronavirus testing and treatment facilities, the National Health Authority said in a statement on Saturday.

Private labs and empanelled hospitals will be geared up to provide the free services to the beneficiaries, it added.

“Testing and treatment of COVID-19 are already available for free in public facilities. Now, more than 50 crore citizens, eligible under the health assurance scheme will be able to avail free testing through private labs and treatment for COVID-19 in empanelled hospitals,” the statement said.

All the testing will be done as per the protocols of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) by the private labs approved by it, the authority said in the statement.

“Active private sector involvement will be critical in case there is a surge in the number of COVID-19 patients that needs care. States are in the process of enlisting private sector hospitals that can be converted to COVID-19 ONLY hospitals,” the National Health Authority added.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also informed about the government’s decision by taking it to Twitter.

“More than 50 crore poor and vulnerable citizens shall henceforth be eligible for free COVID-19 testing and treatment under Ayushman Bharat, PMJAY. Testing at private labs and treatment in designated hospitals now made free for Ayushman beneficiaries across India,” he said.

Amid the crisis, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appealed to the citizens of the nation to voluntarily switch off lights between 9 pm and 9:09 pm on April 5 to demonstrate solidarity in fighting against the Coronavirus pandemic.

As of Saturday evening, over 3000 tested positive of COVID-19, with 75 deaths.