2022 Assembly polls National

Health Secretary briefs Election Commission on COVID-19 situation

The Election Commission of India office in New Delhi. file

The Election Commission of India office in New Delhi. file

As the Election Commission of India (ECI) prepares for Assembly polls in Goa, Manipur, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab in early 2022, it was on Monday briefed by Union Health and Family Welfare Secretary Rajesh Bhushan about the COVID-19 situation.

Among the topics discussed was the highly-transmissible Omicron variant that has been detected in several States so far, an ECI official said. The Commission would travel to U.P. on Tuesday for a three-day visit to assess the situation and meet representatives of political parties and administration.

The Allahabad High Court last week requested the Commission to postpone the U.P. elections due to the Omicron threat. Asked about this during the Commission’s Uttarakhand visit last week, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra said the ECI would proceed as per the Constitution and the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and review the situation during its scheduled visit in U.P.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bhushan held a meeting on Monday with the five poll-bound states to review public health measures and vaccination, a Health Ministry statement said. The Ministry said Uttarakhand and Goa had reported vaccination coverage for both doses higher than the national average, but U.P., Punjab and Manipur had coverage lower than the national average.

"The States were advised to speedily ramp up the COVID-19 vaccination of all eligible population for the first dose and ensure that those who were due for the second dose are administered the second dose...The poll-bound states were also advised to exponentially increase the testing to ensure that the infected cases are identified promptly for timely initiation of public health response measures, and to ensure that there is no sudden upsurge in numbers due to low testing," the Health Ministry statement said.

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Printable version | May 24, 2022 1:24:42 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/election-commission-assesses-covid-situation-in-poll-bound-states/article38047801.ece