Updated on: Saturday, January 15, 2022, 07:35 PM IST

Assembly polls: Election Commission likely to extend ban on physical rallies as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra | Photo: PTI

Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra | Photo: PTI


The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday met with Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan and the principal health secretaries of the five poll-bound states to decide if the ban imposed by it on public rallies and road shows should continue.

Earlier, while announcing the poll schedule for Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur on January 8, the poll panel had taken an unprecedented step by banning public rallies, roadshows and similar physical campaigning events till January 15 in view of rising COVID-19 cases.

The ECI today held a meeting to decide on "any relaxation" on public rallies. However, according to reports, the Union health secretary and the principal health secretaries have unanimously told the ECI that pace of infection has not gone down yet. However, the intensity of infection of the Omicron variant is not as deadly as that of Delta but it won't be right to give any relaxation right now, they said.

Meanwhile, reports said that in the meeting it was agreed to extend the ban on rallies at least till next week.

India logs 2,68,833 COVID-19 cases, 402 deaths in a day; Omicron tally rises to 6,041

India registered 2,68,833 new Covid infections in a day taking the tally to 3,68,50,962, which includes 6,041 Omicron variant cases, according to the Union Health Ministry data on Saturday.

With 402 more deaths, the number of people who have succumbed to the viral disease has risen to 4,85,752. The case fatality rate was 1.32 per cent.

A total of 6,041 Omicron cases have been detected so far, an increase of 5.01 per cent since Friday, the data updated at 8 am showed.

The daily positivity rate was 16.66 per cent while the weekly positivity rate was 12.84 per cent.

Active cases have increased to 14,17,820, the highest in around 223 days, and comprise 3.85 per cent of the total infections. The national COVID-19 recovery rate has decreased to 94.83 per cent, the Health Ministry said.

In a day, the active caseload in the country has increased by 1,45,747. The total number of people who have recuperated from the disease so far has increased to 3,49,47,390.

(With PTI inputs)

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Published on: Saturday, January 15, 2022, 04:46 PM IST