Negative COVID-19 report or 2 vaccine shots mandatory to enter counting centre: Election Commission to candidates
(ANI Photo)

Given the current COVID-19 situation, the Election Commission said that no candidates or their agents will be allowed inside counting halls without a negative coronavirus report or two vaccine doses. Earlier, the election body had banned any victory celebrations over the results of recent elections held in Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry amid a massive Covid surge in the country.

In its guidelines issued today, it said that candidates or their agents who have received both the doses of Covid-19 vaccine can also enter the counting hall on May 2 when votes for Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu will be counted.

The body has banned any public gathering outside counting centres on May 2 (Sunday). Candidates and their agents will be allowed only after a negative RT-PCR test that is not more than 48 hours old.

As per the election body, no public gathering outside the counting venue will be allowed during the process of counting.

Ahead it also ordered that candidates will need to provide a list of counting agents three days before counting day.

The guidlines orders that no public gathering outside the counting venue shall be allowed during the process of counting.

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 centers shall be disinfected before, during and after the counting. Sealed outer boxes of EVM/VVPAT shall also be sanitized/disinfected.

Number of Counting tables to be allowed in a counting hall as per the sue of hall and keeping in view safety norms prescribed for Covid-19, it ordered further.

The body has said that anybody violating instructions of COVID-19 measures will be liable to proceeded against as per the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides legal action shall be taken under Section188 of the IPC, and other legal provisions as applicable.

Bengal votes in the final round tomorrow - amid a huge rise in coronavirus cases in the country. Crowded campaigns and roadshows by leading parties and politicians drew anger and criticism as Covid safety rules like masks and distancing were completely ignored.

Over 84 lakh voters in West Bengal will decide the political fate of 283 candidates on Thursday, when 35 assembly constituencies go to polls in the eighth and final phase, amid a raging second wave of COVID-19.

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