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Multi-layer security, bigger centres: EC ready to count votes under Covid shadow

Bigger vote counting halls with higher air flow; sanitised outer bins of digital voting machines; ban on entry of candidates and polling brokers with out destructive Covid-19 report; and extra ballot officers to count postal ballots.

As the state continued to log file each day Covid-19 instances and deaths, these are amongst a few of the measures taken by the Election Commission of India for the counting of votes on Sunday. The eight-phase meeting election, marred by violence, concluded for 292 of the overall 294 seats on Thursday.

A multi-layer safety cowl shall be in place on the whole 705 counting centres within the state. Each centre may have a nodal officer accompanied by a well being officer to guarantee Covid-19 protocols are complied with.

“No candidates/agents will be allowed inside the counting hall without undergoing RT-PCR/RAT (rapid atigen) test or without having two doses of vaccination against Covid-19. They will have to produce a negative RT-PCR report or RAT report or vaccination reports within 48 hours of the counting. The DEO (district election officer) shall make arrangement of RT-PCR/RAT test for candidates/counting agents before the day of counting,” learn an EC order. No public gathering exterior the counting venue shall be allowed.

According to sources on the Chief Electoral Officer’s workplace, the counting halls shall be bigger and higher ventilated than these in earlier elections to preserve social distancing. The facilities shall be disinfected earlier than, throughout and after the counting. Counting tables shall be fewer to guarantee minimal contact.

At the entry factors, individuals shall be checked for temperature and requested to wash palms with cleaning soap or use sanitiser.

“No one with any Covid symptoms like fever, cold etc. will be allowed to enter the counting hall. Candidates may appoint/replace their counting agents if the (Covid) report is positive… There shall be sufficient number of PPE kits for counting agents/candidates,” learn the EC order, including that that each second polling agent should put on a PPE equipment.

Each polling official and safety individual shall be supplied with a masks, a face defend, a pair of gloves and sanitiser.

 

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