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Covid protocol for Rajya Sabha elections on June 19: Separate rooms, routes for MLAs with symptoms

The ECI will be treating three BJP MLAs — Jagdish Panchal, Balram Thawani and Kishor Chauhan — who had earlier tested positive for Covid-19 as healthy individuals.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Published: June 18, 2020 6:28:25 am
Congress MLAs outside a hotel in Ahmedabad. Javed Raja

In view of the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has made separate Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), including separate routes and waiting areas, for MLAs suspected to have Covid-19 arriving in the state for the polling day, June 19.

The ECI will be treating three BJP MLAs — Jagdish Panchal, Balram Thawani and Kishor Chauhan — who had earlier tested positive for Covid-19 as healthy individuals. “They have been discharged from the hospital and finished their quarantine period,” said Chief Electoral Officer of Gujarat, Murali Krishna.

“As of now, there are no MLAs who are Covid positive. However, we have made SOPs and arrangements to identify and isolate anyone who is found to have symptoms on the voting day,” he added.

The SOPs formed with the help of health officials include testing all MLAs at the entry gate of the the legislature, where the voting process will be held at the banquet hall on its fourth floor.

“We will be conducting a thermal scan of all MLAs and anyone found with abnormal vitals will be segregated and kept in a separate waiting room. We have kept three-four rooms for this purpose. Such individuals will also be taken through a different route and use elevators located at the back of the building. They will be allowed to vote only at the end,” the ECI official told The Indian Express.

In case any MLA tests positive before or on the polling day, they may also be allowed to vote. Such MLAs will be transported to the polling centre in an ambulance after receiving necessary clearance from their respective doctors.

The ECI has stationed paramedical teams at the polling centre. Masks, gloves and sanitisers will be made available at four-five places within the premises, including toilets, to be used by candidates, MLAs, polling staff and others present. The entire polling centre will also be sanitised before the process begins.

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