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Election commission issues Covid safety measures during counting

Chennai, April 28(BPNS)

The Election commission of India has issued detailed guidelines for the counting of votes including Covid -19 security measures during the counting of votes.

Candidates and booth agents will be allowed entry to the counting centres only if they have taken both shots of the Covid -19 vaccines or undergone an RT-PCR or RAT test.  There will not be any victory procession on the counting day.

The District Electoral officer shall be the Nodal officer at each counting centre to ensure adherence to the Covid -19 norms with the assistance of the Nodal health officer.

Those entering the counting centres will have a negative RT PCR test report or RAT report or vaccination reports within 48 hours of the start of counting.

No public gathering outside the counting venue shall be allowed and the counting hall should be sufficiently big to maintain social distancing and should have proper ventilation, windows, exhaust fan etc as per available protocol of SDMA. The counting centres shall be disinfected before, during and after the counting.

No one having symptoms of Covid -19 like fever, cold etc shall be allowed to enter the counting hall and candidates may replace the counting agent in case the report is positive. There shall be sufficient number of PPE kits for counting agents and candidates and the sitting arrangements shall be made in such a way that between two counting agents one agent shall wear PPE.

The counting officers and security personnel will be provided with Masks, Sanitiser, Face shield and gloves.

Not more than two persons will be allowed to accompany the winning candidate or his/her authorized representative receives the certificate of election from the returning officer. A detailed Covid -19 related comprehensive plan for counting arrangements will be prepared at the state level ,taking local conditions into account. Three layer plan will be prepared in consultation with the concerned Nodal officers at constituency ,district and state levels.

If required postal ballots may be counted in a separate hall under the supervision of the Returning officer or the Assistant Returning Officer.