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Omicron in India: Election Commission urges Centre to speed up vaccination drive in poll-bound states

The poll body met with key officials from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare earlier today, including Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, to examine the COVID-19 situation across the nation as five states prepare to hold elections in less than three months.

Omicron in India Election Commission urges Centre to speed up vaccination drive in poll bound states gcw
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New Delhi, First Published Dec 27, 2021, 6:11 PM IST
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As the Omicron fear grips India ahead of the forthcoming Assembly elections, the Election Commission wrote to the Union Health Ministry on Monday, demanding it to expedite vaccination campaigns in poll-bound areas. The poll body met with key officials from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare earlier today, including Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, to examine the COVID-19 situation across the nation as five states prepare to hold elections in less than three months.

The EC and health authorities from the Centre reviewed the increased number of COVID-19 cases in India and the threat presented by the Omicron variety, in addition to vaccination coverage, particularly in states where Assembly elections are slated for next year. Assembly elections will be held in five states next February-March: Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur, and Goa. According to sources, the EC and the Union Health Ministry will meet again in January of next year.

India saw the most considerable single-day increase in Omicron infections on Monday, with 156 new cases, bringing the total number of such cases to 578. The increased prevalence of the Omicron variety of coronavirus, more contagious than the Delta strain, has sparked concern. The Delta strain was responsible for the country's fatal second wave of illnesses in April-May this year when lakhs of people died, and the healthcare system was on the edge of collapsing.

Also Read | Allahabad HC urges Centre, EC to halt political rallies, postpone assembly elections 2022

Earlier, the Allahabad High Court has recommended the Election Commission to postpone the next Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh for a few months, citing an increase in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron concern. The court further noted that the third wave of Covid is possible as the number of incidences of the new strain Omicron grows. He then highlighted news headlines on the number of Covid instances and countries that had implemented lockdowns.

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