GUWAHATI: Assam Health and Family Welfare department on Wednesday said that approximately 35,000 counting officials and counting agents who will be part of the May 2 declaration of the results process will have to get tested for the virus on April 30.
The testing of all engaged in the counting process is mandatory and will be done in pre-identified and notified testing centres, according to a Standard Operating Peocedure (SOP) issued by State Nodal Officer (Health), 2021 Assam assembly elections Anurag Goel following discussions with Chief Electoral Officer Nitin Khade.
The centres may be a government school or institutions with spacious premises where large scale testing can be conducted by maintaining social distancing. Each testing location shall be arranged with multiple counters where registration and testing of the personnel can be undertaken and sufficient lab technicians under a medical officer shall be notified for each testing location in consultation with the Joint Director of Health Services of the district.
All counting officials and agents will be tested with Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) and if found negative, will be given a RAT negative certificate at the testing point which they will have to show at the counting hall on May two. If any counting officials or agents are found positive in RAT, he/she shall be provided medical facilities in the nearest COVID hospital or any other isolated centres kept for the purpose or home isolation.
Only the symptomatic RAT negative persons need to be tested with RT-PCR and such symptomatic persons should not be engaged for counting purposes unless the results are made available by May one. The concerned person shall remain in home quarantine until the result is available. The concerned Deputy Commissioners shall notify a nodal officer for receiving, testing and reporting the results of the counting officials and agents in a smooth manner.
All relevant COVID protection materials shall be provided to the counting officials and agents by the district election officers. The stock of all necessary materials shall be verified and confirmed in advance and shall be provided to them immediately on arrival at the counting venue and this include gloves, masks and PPE kits wherever applicable and hand sanitizers at multiple points for easy access. The three-phase election to 126-member Assam assembly is over and the results will be declared on Sunday along with that of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala besides the Union Territory of Puducherry. PTI