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General News of Friday, 15 May 2020

Source: pulse.com.gh

Coronaivrus: WHO gives directives to Ghana, other countries on holding elections


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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has laid down some guidelines to be adopted by countries who want to hold elections despite the Coronavirus pandemic.

The novel Coronavirus outbreak has brought many events to a standstill, while others have been postponed.

Countries who are scheduled to hold their general elections this year have also been left pondering whether to go ahead or otherwise.

Citizens of Burundi, for instance, are preparing to go to the polls next week, while Ghana’s is scheduled for December.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the WHO has given some directives that should be followed if countries still want to hold elections during the period of the pandemic.

Speaking at a WHO Africa briefing, Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, said countries must endeavor to adhere to all social distancing protocols during elections.

She said enough logistics must be provided to ensure that the polling stations do not become breeding ground for the spread of the virus.

Dr. Moeti emphasised the need for “physical barriers in terms of droplets, physical distancing among the people involved. I imagine if elections are being planned, it would be very important for these measures to be put in place.

“So that it would require the type of logistics for planning, [and] monitoring how people are gathering…and very much helping people themselves to know and to understand that even as they gather for this purpose or any others, it is very important for them to keep that physical distance and assuring that this event does not then become an occasion for the virus to spread further in the population,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Campaign manager of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) says Ghana cannot afford to change the date for the 2020 general elections despite the Coronavirus outbreak.

Peter Mac Manu explained that the country’s constitution does not give room for a change of date of the elections.

Speaking on Citi TV’s “Face to Face” programme, he said the elections are bound to happen come December 7 despite the pandemic.

He said countries like Malawi, Tanzania and Burundi are on course to have their, so nothing prevents Ghana from emulating them.

“The situation we find ourselves now, the pandemic has shot the world in a shock economically and health-wise but nevertheless, in a country like Ghana where our Constitution does not give room for any change of date for elections, we are bound to go into the elections on 7th December because the constitution doesn’t have room for any manoeuvers,” the NPP’s campaign manager said.





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