The Election Commission on Wednesday made it mandatory for all contesting candidates and their polling agents to either test negative for COVID-19 or show proof of having received both doses of vaccines to enter the counting centres on May 2.
The results of the Assembly elections held in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam and Puducherry will be declared on 2 May.
The new instruction is part of the EC’s detailed COVID19 protocol released on Wednesday.
The poll panel has tasked all District Election Officers to arrange for either RT-PCR or Rapid Antigen Test for the candidates and their counting agents before the day of counting.
“No one having any symptom of COVID19-like fever, cold etc. shall be allowed to enter the counting hall,” according to the EC.
If the candidate or one of her agents is infected, then a replacement will have to be appointed.
Counting hall to be sufficiently big to ensure social distancing and should be well ventilated, the EC’s instruction states.
“Candidates and their counting agents to be provided with PPE kits. Seating inside the hall should be arranged in a way that one agent sitting between two counting agents should be in PPE,” it said.