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Covid negative report must for candidates and agents to be inside the tally room on May 2 | India News


NEW DELHI: All candidates and agents planning to be inside the counting room on May 2, when vote counting takes place for four states and one Union territory, will be required to submit a negative Covid ‘test report ‘or a twin certificate. vaccination dose against Covid according to the revised protocol of the electoral commission.
In view of the second wave of Covid infections taking over the country, no public gatherings will be allowed outside the counting site while the electronic voting machine count totalization process is ongoing. In addition, the counting officers will be seated so that all other persons are wearing personal protective equipment. Usually once the count goes on, the top three or four contenders are represented, others lose interest.
The new guidelines, which come two days after the Madras High Court criticized the voting panel for failing to enforce Covid protocols during the campaign, were designed after considering the views and input of the chief clerks, secretaries of health and electoral officers in chief of the states and UT.
In accordance with the updated regulations, the district election officer will be the nodal officer at each counting center to ensure compliance with Covid-19 regulations. A certificate of compliance with Covid standards in the arrangements at the counting center must be obtained from the health authorities concerned.
EC added that anyone who violates the instructions on Covid measures will be held liable for action under Section 51-60 of the Disaster Management Act.
No candidate or agent may enter the counting room without undergoing the RT-PCR or RAT test or without having completed the two doses of vaccination against Covid-19. Interestingly, despite the willingness to vaccinate with both doses, most candidates and agents between 45 and 60 years of age and without comorbidities may need to undergo RT-PCR or RAT testing. Vaccination for this category started only on April 1. Therefore, only those who took their first dose of Covaxin right at the beginning of April, to be eligible for the second dose 28 days later, would not have to produce a negative Covid test result. . No one between 45 and 60 years old and without comorbidities who took Covishield, which recommends a 6-week interval between two doses, will have completed both doses.
Negative RT-PCR or RAT report or vaccination reports must occur anytime between 8 a.m. From April 30 to 8 a.m. M. From May 2.
DEO will arrange for RT-PCR or RAT testing of candidates and counting agents. A test report from any licensed laboratory will also be accepted. Competing candidates must submit the list of counting agents to the teller (RO) by 5 pm on April 29. Candidates can appoint or replace counting agents in the event of a ‘Covid positive’ report until the start of the count. However, the new agent must also submit a negative Covid report or a “complete vaccination” certificate.
The scrutiny room should be large enough to maintain social distancing, and have adequate ventilation and should be disinfected before, during and after procedures, EC said.
EVM / VVPAT sealed outer boxes must also be sterilized / disinfected.
The number of counting tables that will be allowed in a counting room will be based on the size of the room and in accordance with Covid standards. The counting of the votes of a constituency can be considered in 3 chambers by appointing additional RO assistants.
Thermal protection and disinfection or hand washing will be available at the entrance to the counting hallways. No one with Covid-19 symptoms such as fever and cold will be allowed to enter.
To maintain social distancing within the counting room, seating arrangements for counting personnel and others must comply with NDMA and SDMA Covid guidelines. Counting officials and security personnel will receive masks, disinfectant, face shields, and gloves.
For counting votes by mail, an additional number of AROs may be delegated. If necessary, postal ballots can also be counted in a separate room.
EC mandated that Covid guidelines and dos and don’ts at the entrance and within the counting room and that proper disposal of Covid-related waste be ensured.
Based on these general guidelines, a comprehensive detailed Covid-19 related plan will be prepared for statewide counting arrangements, taking into account local conditions. The three-tier plan will be prepared in consultation with nodal officers at the district, district, and state assembly levels.

Times of India