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NCDC shares guidelines for conducting elections amid COVID-19

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has released guidelines for conducting elections during COVID-19 pandemic.

Ahead of the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states slated for September and October 2020 respectively, the NCDC in a document published on Monday provided recommendations and actions that should be taken to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for all voters, electoral officers, candidates and other participants.

Below are the various guidelines for respective groups:

For INEC:

  • Develop and publicise voters’ code of conduct including what is expected of voters to adequately protect themselves from COVID-19 at polling stations.
  • Educate all election staff and volunteers on voting process and measures put in place to protect them.
  • Venues for voter’s registration and collection of voter’s cards should be organised, have markings to keep people 2 metres away from each other, well ventilated and handwashing facilities made available.
  • The use of face masks must be mandatory for everyone attending the campaign rally.
  • Temperature checks should be carried out at the entrance/gate before any individual enters the campaign ground. Anyone with a temperature above 37.5°C should not be allowed into the campaign ground.

For Politicians:

  • Publicise and adhere to codes of conduct developed by INEC, including public health and social measures expected at rallies and election locations.
  • Avoid utilising campaign venue to full capacity; we recommend one third of venue capacity.
  • If essential, multiple rallies should be conducted with appropriate numbers of people to enable adequate physical distancing in each gathering per time.
  • Hand hygiene facilities including soap and water/ hand sanitisers should be made available for people before gaining access to campaign ground.
  • The use of face masks must be mandatory for everyone attending the campaign rally.

Polling station staff

  • Staff should be on the lookout and stay at home if they have a fever, respiratory symptoms, or feel generally unwell.
  • Provide a temperature control point at the entrance of the polling station to check voter’s temperature, and people with a high temperature should be asked to go home.
  • All staff at the polling unit should practice hand hygiene frequently: wash hands often with soap and water for at least 40 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Practice routine cleaning of equipment and minimise use of shared materials unless they are adequately cleaned before reuse.
  • After thumb printing the ballot paper, voters should be advised to not touch their faces until they wash their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • After counting ballot papers, polling staff should not touch their faces until they wash their hands with soap and water or clean with alcohol based hand sanitisers.
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