Amid the spread of coronavirus and after a series of agitation, the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) – for admission to medical courses across the country – is set to be held today.

There were demands of postponement of the exams from the students who argued that holding these exams at this time would endanger their lives.

The Supreme Court dismissing the petitions had said the exams could be held with strict restrictions on contact and social distancing.

On Wednesday, the apex court declined to hear any further petitions on deferring NEET.

“I wish good luck to all the students appearing for NEET. I am fully confident that all the candidates, while sticking to the coronavirus protocols, will give the exam with full confidence and patience,” Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank tweeted this morning.

“All states have made arrangements, adhering to the government-mandated protocols,” he added.

The National Testing Agency (NTA) has released an extensive list of guidelines for the exam.

The guidelines include staggered reporting times, seating to ensure social distancing. Students must also wear face masks and gloves and carry their own hand sanitiser and a water bottle.

There is also a facility of “isolation rooms” for candidates whose body temperature is above the prescribed limit.

The NTA has also sought a self-declaration that says candidates do not have any symptoms or suffer from Covid or have not been in touch with a Covid-positive person.

Overall, more than 16 lakh students have registered for the NEET exam. Nearly 2.3 lakh students will take exams in Maharashtra, 1.67 lakh students in Uttar Pradesh, while Karnataka has around 1.19 lakh students. Tamil Nadu has 1.18 lakh and Kerala 1.16 lakh students to appear in the examinations.

In order to assist the students, West Bengal has cancelled the Covid lockdown scheduled for the day and will operate special Metro services in Kolkata for students.

Punjab has lifted its weekend curfew, although non-essential services will remain closed in the state.

There were many petitions filed in the Supreme Court seeking the postponement of the exams due to the spread of coronavirus but the court had rejected the petitions saying, “the careers of students can’t be put in jeopardy.”