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Govt. to seek EC advise on delaying polls

13 March 2020 08:25 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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A senior minister yesterday told Daily Mirror the government would seek advise of the Election Commission (EC) whether the upcoming general election could be postponed in the event a coronavirus outbreak is reported in the country.

The Health Ministry is likely to ban public gatherings during the next few days if the situation worsens resulting in a ban on election meetings and campaigning.

Sri Lanka reported its second COVID-19 patient yesterday after a 44-year-old man tested positive to the virus. He is believed to have associated with the first patient, who was a 52-year-old local tour guide. Both patients are receiving treatment at the IDH.

A senior EC official told Daily Mirror that they had already instructed all those who were expected to be deployed on election duty to take preventive measures such as the use of hand sanitizes, the wearing of masks and washing their faces and hands.

A meeting with those on election duty will be held during the next few days should the situation worsen to update them on further preventive measures to be taken in compliance with the health ministry regulations.

On Wednesday, the Health Ministry briefed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on the preventive measures taken following the detection of the first local COVID-19 patient. The President urged all citizens to cooperate with regard to the quarantine process now in operation with the objective of protecting the citizens of the country.

He said if the situation gets out of hand by people acting in an irresponsible manner, the country would have to face disastrous consequences.

Some senior government members said if worse comes to the worse then the country's priority would be to mitigate health threats and as such an election would be a hindrance.

Blurb -- The President urged all citizens to cooperate with regard to the quarantine process now in operation with the objective of protecting the citizens of the country. (JAMILA HUSAIN)

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