Mumbai: Medical students appearing for MUHS exams fear contracting Covid-19 infection

Over 40,000 students appearing for second and third-year medical, dental and paramedical undergraduate (UG) course examinations scheduled to be conducted by the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS), Nashik via offline mode from June 10 to 30 are in jeopardy due to anxiety and fear of the spread of Covid-19 infection. Students said they will lose a chance to appear for exams if they test positive for coronavirus as they have to undergo RT-PCR tests and show negative reports before entering examination halls.

Medical students said RT-PCR test is a huge risk. The state government should have rather made provisions for vaccination of all students and exam staff. Priyanka Nair, a second year medical student said, "Instead of compelling students to take RT-PCR test just before the exam, the state government should have made provisions to ensure that all students and staff are vaccinated against Covid-19. Are we supposed to study and prepare for our exams or stress about the RT-PCR test result?"

Some students might be Covid-19 positive but asymptomatic if they contract the infection anytime in the middle of the exam between June 10 to 30 even after producing a negative RT-PCR test, said Dr Jitendra Singh, national president of the All India Medical Students' Association (AIMSA) said, "Who will be responsible if a student contracts the infection after taking the RT-PCR test? If students are Covid-19 positive but asymptomatic, they might not witness any symptoms but will pass on the virus infection to other students and exam staff. This will put the lives of large number of students and staff at risk."

Dr Singh added, "Our demand of 'No vaccination, no examination' has fallen on deaf ears because both the central and state government is not concerned about the safety of medical students. If exams of all other fields of study can be postponed or conducted online, why can't medical exams be conducted after all students are vaccinated?"

The exams are scheduled to be conducted from June 10 to June 30, 2021 at 173 centres by MUHS which governs all medical and dental colleges of Maharashtra. Following the Bombay High Court (HC) Nagpur Bench order dated June 5, 2021, each examinee should test for Covid-19 and produce a negative report along with the hall ticket on June 10. In case an examinee is not having such a RT-PCR certificate, the student can have report of a Rapid Antigen test and be permitted to appear in the examination on its basis, but may also be asked to get an RT-PCR test done and produce a report in that regard on the next date of the examination and preferably by June 15.

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Free Press Journal