Masks, disinfectants and tiered access: NEET starts under strict precautions with regards to Covid-19
NEW DELHI: The NEET medical entrance exam began on Sunday under strict precautions in light of the Covid-19 pandemic in over 3,800 centers across the country. The students stood in line according to the established time windows and adhered to the norms of social distancing.

The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) started at 2 p.m., but entry to the centers started at 11 a.m. Students have been allocated different slots for entry to ensure movement is staggered and social distancing is maintained.

Over 15 Lakh candidates have signed up for NEET, which has already been postponed twice due to the pandemic.

Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ wished the candidates who turned up for the exam the best of luck and assured that arrangements have been made for their safety.

“I wish the best of luck to the candidates appearing for NEET today. I am confident that students will arrive for the exam with confidence and are following all guidelines. All states have taken the necessary precautions to ensure the hygiene and safety of students in accordance with guidelines.” to ensure, “he tweeted.

Mohammad Ovais, who came here from Moradabad to his exam center in Dilshad Garden, said his boarding place was at 11 a.m.

“I left Moradabad at 5am. It’s not that risky for everyone to take all the precautions. The problem arises when people take it casually. There was no crowding in the centers as everyone had slots set,” said he.

Vanhika Chaurasia, a Rohini resident, said, “An online exam would have been a better option than a pen-and-paper test, but we have no option. A longer delay in the exams would have lost one year.”

For Yuvraj Kumar, the bigger problem was traveling by public transport.

“Fortunately, the subway services were resumed before the exam because I was concerned about it and other public transport is not as safe. We were given separate masks in the center and had to dispose of the mask we had previously worn,” he said.

Ajmal Ismail, who shows up for the exam at a Mayur Vihar center, said: “More than the coronavirus, it was worry about whether exams are going to take place or will be postponed that caused me more stress. I did my preparation well and took everything Precautions.”

By 5pm on Saturday, more than 15 lakh of the 15.97 lakh registered candidates had downloaded their tickets.

Various state governments had announced free transportation and accommodation, including West Bengal, which offered a special underground service for candidates.

The exam was postponed twice due to the pandemic and the government decided to continue the exams despite opposition to mitigate further academic losses.

The National Testing Agency (NTA) has set strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in view of the pandemic, including measures like reducing the number of candidates per room from the previous 24 to 12.

The NTA has also increased the number of centers from 2,546 in 2019 to 3,862 this year to ensure crowd management and staggered entry and exit protocols. In contrast to the Engineering Entrance (JEE), NEET-UG, the medical approval test, is a pen and paper test that is held once a year.

Accordingly, this week the NTA switched centers for some candidates to meet social distancing norms and Covid restrictions. However, the city of the exam center has not changed for any candidate. The centers with more than 900 candidates are spread over two centers.

While all candidates were asked to go to the exam centers with masks and disinfectant, upon entering the center they were asked to use the three-layer masks provided by the examining authority.

The NEET-UG was originally planned for May 3rd, but was postponed to July 26th and then planned for September 13th.


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