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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday cleared the admission process for 45,000 junior doctors to practice in government health facilities, after a month-long protest by health workers who had demanded that the coronavirus disease (COVID) Due to rapid growth, the number of employees should be increased. -19) cases.

India’s new COVID-19 cases reached 117,100 on Friday, a five-fold increase in a week, as the fast-spreading Omicron version of the disease overtook the previously dominant Delta strain. The country’s total infections stand at 35.23 million, with 483,178 deaths, according to health ministry data.

While India has one of the worst doctor-to-patient ratios in the world – just 1 to 1,456 – nearly 45,000 young doctors who passed postgraduate exams last year have been left idle as their admissions process was stalled by legal disputes, including reservations. was also involved. place for poor indians

The Supreme Court ruled that the government should initiate the admission process “in the national interest”. The process starts with consultation, during which doctors are appointed to hospitals according to their skills and preferences. “We have been hearing the matter for two days. We should start counseling in the national interest,” Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna said in the court verdict.

The decision was greeted with relief by resident doctors, who had been on strike since early December, amid fears that a third wave could affect vulnerable medical facilities, as infections peaked in March-May last year. About 178,000 people were killed in those three months. Lonely.

“We are hopeful that counseling will start soon and doctors will start working again,” said Dr Manish Nigam, president of Federation of Resident Doctors Association, in a statement.

“At a time when the country is passing through the third stage of COVID-19, and many doctors are affected by the disease, this decision means a lot to us.”

Since the process could take even two months to complete, Dr. Shariva Ranadive from Mumbai, whose admission has been delayed, told Arab News that she is “disappointed” with the whole situation.

“Hospitals were already stressful, and now infections are causing havoc among overworked hospital workers,” she said. “Many government hospitals are running on some staff members, many of whom are getting infected.”

Dr. Praveen Dhage of Mumbai’s Sion Hospital said that 98 out of 400 doctors at the facility were recently infected.

“Hospitals are already feeling the pressure of a surge in cases,” he said. “I think, if the situation continues like this, we will be playing with many lives.”

There is a similar situation in Delhi, where Dr. Harjit Singh Bhatti told Arab News that further delay will be a big challenge for the medical workers. “I hope the admission process will start soon, otherwise the way the cases are increasing, it will be difficult to handle the situation,” he said. “It will be a challenge for doctors to work with less manpower.”