The Centre on Thursday postponed the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (post graduate) or NEET-PG medical exam amid the surge in coronavirus cases in the country. The exam was scheduled for April 18 and nearly 1.7 lakh medical aspirants were going to appear for it.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that the new date for the exam would be decided later. “[The] decision has been taken keeping well-being of our young medical students in mind,” he added.

Earlier on Thursday, a group of doctors had moved the Supreme Court for the postponement of the exam, Bar and Bench reported.

The petitioners argued that the candidates scheduled to appear for the exam treated coronavirus patients every day and there was a high chance that they carried the infection.

The petitioners added that hospitals were short of doctors amid the steep increase in coronavirus cases, and it would not be in the interest of the public to conduct the examination.

The doctors highlighted that the Central Board of Secondary Exams had also cancelled tests for Class 10 and postponed them for Class 12 in view of the coronavirus situation.

India is in the middle of the second wave of the coronavirus. The country recorded over 2 lakh new coronavirus cases on Thursday – a record high since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. India’s overall count of cases since the outbreak rose to 1,40,74,564. The toll rose to 1,73,123 as 1,038 deaths were recorded in the last day.