In a significant move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced a slew of measures aimed at ramping up availability of doctors and medical staff to deal with surging number of Covid 19 cases in the country.

The decision came during a review meeting held to assess the requirement of ‘adequate human resources for responding to the Covid19 pandemic.’

The daily Covid-19 cases in India showed a slight dip with 3,68,147 new coronavirus infections being reported in a day, taking the total tally of cases to1,99,25,604, according to the Union Health Ministry data on Monday.

“It was decided to postpone NEET-PG for at least 4 months and the exam will not be held before 31 August 2021. Students will also be given atleast one month of time after announcement of exam before it is conducted. This will make a large number of qualified doctors available for Covid duties,” a note from Prime Minister Office stated here.

Accordingly, it was also decided to allow deployment of Medical Interns in Covid Management duties under the supervision of their faculty, as part of the Internship rotation.

“The services of Final Year MBBS students can be utilised for providing services like tele-consultation and monitoring of mild Covid cases after due orientation by and under supervision of Faculty. This will reduce the workload on existing doctors engaged in Covid duty and provide boost to efforts of triaging,” the PMO note further added.

The services of Final Year PG Students (broad as well as super-specialities) as residents is also proposed to be utilised until fresh batches of PG Students joined. B.Sc./ GNM Qualified Nurses is also to be utilised for full-time Covid nursing duties under the supervision of Senior Doctors and Nurses.

Accordingly, “individuals providing services in Covid management will be given priority in forthcoming regular Government recruitments after they complete minimum of 100 days of Covid duty.”

To ensure safety, the medical students/professionals sought to be engaged in Covid related work will be suitably vaccinated. “All health professionals thus engaged will be covered under the Insurance Scheme of Government and be given the Prime Minister’s Distinguished Covid National Service Samman from Government of India,” the note further added.

Bengal cases: West Bengal registered 17,501 fresh Covid cases and 98 deaths today. Kolkata recorded 3,990 cases and 21 deaths in the last 24 hours. The total Covid case count is 8,80,894 and death toll is 11,637 in the state till now while there are 1,19,961 active cases.