KATHMANDU, November 14: The nation observes November 20 as the voting day for the elections of members of the House of Representatives (HoR) and the Provincial Assembly simultaneously.
As the elections approach, political parties and electoral candidates organize door-to-door visits as part of the election publicity campaign. While the electoral atmosphere is gaining momentum in our country, health professionals are concerned about the issue of public health given the risk of infectious diseases, mainly COVID-19.
On Saturday, eight new cases of COVID-19 were recorded. Although COVID-19 infection is slowing, the risk remains and medical professionals have advised people to follow recommended health protocols against the disease.
Dr. Sagar Raj Bhandari expressed concern that election candidates are not adhering to health protocols, which poses a serious threat to public health. “Ignoring safety measures increases the risk of infectious diseases. The risk of colds, flu and the changing form of COVID-19 may increase.
The former director of the Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Diseases Hospital, Dr Bhandari, advised political parties and candidates to ensure venues chosen for rallies are well ventilated and to avoid programs and gatherings in congested areas.
The risk of COVID-19 still exists and cases of seasonal flu and other respiratory health issues are continuously increasing, according to Dr. Sher Bahadur Pun of Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Diseases Hospital. As he pointed out, participants in election meetings and rallies should also be aware of food intake.
He added that the risk of diarrhea cannot be avoided in winter. “Random food consumption can cause diarrhea and vomiting in winter.”
Doctors have advised people with cold and fever symptoms to stay away from crowds and gatherings to contain the risk of spreading infectious diseases. They insisted on physical distancing, wearing masks and paying particular attention to cleanliness.
According to health professionals, employees participating in electoral procedures are required to follow health protocols against contagious diseases.
Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission has said it is committed to ensuring compliance with the health protocol during the elections. The Electoral Code of Conduct obliges political parties and candidates to respect health security measures. Deputy EC spokesperson Surya Prasad Aryal said the EC had already provided hand sanitizer and a mask to polling centers. “We have urged everyone to practice social distancing.”