As the Elections Commission announced the schedule for assembly polls for five states on Saturday, health experts advised those states to ensure social distancing standards are met and set a limit on the number of people attending rallies, saying breaches of Covid guidelines can have serious repercussions at this point. critical phase of the pandemic.

Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa will be held from February 10 to March 7 in seven phases. The counting of votes will take place on March 10. As the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, the commission has established new protocols to ensure ‘Covid-safe’ elections to 690 assembly seats in the five states, the election commissioner said in Chef Sushil Chandra. told reporters here.

Health experts have warned that any breach of the rules at this critical time can have serious repercussions given the current COVID-19 situation in the country. Dr Shuchin Bajaj, founding director of the Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, said no political party should campaign physically and should only hold online rallies. “We need to make sure there is no violation of Covid protocols. Where attendance at the wedding has been limited to 20 people, attendance at the political rally should also be capped by the electoral commission,” Bajaj said. .

Sugandh Ahluwalia, Chief Strategy Officer, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, said the most important thing now is to ensure that all Covid protocols are strictly followed by all voters. “No one should be allowed to vote if they have not been fully vaccinated. The EC should ensure social distancing in all voting booths. No voter should be allowed to vote without a mask. The temperature of voters should be checked via infrared thermometers.wide scale voting is important for democracy, it is also essential to ensure the safety of all voters,” said Ahluwalia.

Dr Sajid Khan, a Noida-based endocrinologist, said people with co-morbidities should take special care. “This is a very critical time and the next two weeks are very crucial for the Covid situation in the country, so people are advised to exercise extra caution, especially those with co-morbidities like diabetes. and hypertension,” he said. noted. The Ministry of Health said on Wednesday that India is experiencing an exponential rise in the number of coronavirus cases, believed to be due to its Omicron variant.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, when meeting the polling panel on Thursday, also presented the overall and national status of the spread of Covid, as well as Omicron, in the country. Details were also presented on the preparedness of the public health response in the states for the control and management of the growing number of Covid cases, the Ministry of Health had said.

-With PTI inputs

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