Italy rushes 10K medical students into service during coronavirus outbreak, scrapping final exams

Left with no choice amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, Italy is rushing 10,000 medical students into service, axing their final exams.

The country has been hit the hardest by COVID-19 outside of China, and as such, drastic measures are being taken to make sure everyone can be cared for adequately.

University Minister Gaetano Manfredi said the government will let this year’s group of medicine graduates start working eight or nine months ahead of time, waiving mandatory exams they normally sit before qualifying, Reuters reports.

“This means immediately releasing into the National Health System the energy of about 10,000 doctors, which is fundamental to dealing with the shortage that our country is suffering,” Manfredi said in a statement.

He added that the new graduates would be sent to work in general practitioners’ clinics and seniors’ homes, freeing up experienced colleagues to head to hospitals.

In the past three weeks, 1,135 people have required intensive care in Lombardy, the region in northern Italy hit hardest by the rapidly spreading virus.

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