What pandemic? Social distancing goes for a toss as candidates flout Covid-19 protocol during Uttar Pradesh Panchayat Election nominations

Lucknow: Undaunted by the second surge of coronavirus reaching its peak in the state, a large number of candidates and their supporters flouted Covid-19 protocol and guidelines when the polling process for the four-phased Panchayat polls got underway for filing nomnation for the first phase from Saturday.

Polling for the first is scheduled to be held on April 15. Though the State Election Commission has issued detailed Covid-19 guidelines but at many places, candidates and their supporters took out processions while filing their nomination papers on the opening day without maintaining social distancing and wearing masks.

The returnig officers, however, did not allow crowd entering their offices for filing nominations. Only the candidate and one supporter was allowed to enter the office after santizing hands and wearing masks. Nominations were filed in 18 districts on Saturday.

The returning officers have made separate arrangements for filing of nomination for Covid-19 positive candidates. Their nominations will be received by a PPE kit, gloves, mask and shield wearing agent in a separate room.

The State health officials are worried about violation of Covid-19 guidilines during nominations and campaigning. A large number of people are out on roads campaigning for candidates without wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.

“The second surge of coronavirus has already assumed alarming proportion in the state. It will be very difficult to break the chain if such high risks groups are allowed to move around in public places violating norms,” feared a senior health official.

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