The Union territory administration in Puducherry has decided to extend the lockdown in the UT to May 3. This would mean the Union territory would be under lockdown when counting of votes in the recent Assembly polls happens on May 2.
The Union territory administration had decided to impose a lockdown from Tuesday to Friday to curb the surge in COVID-19 cases. Puducherry had already been observing a night curfew from 10pm to 5am.
The extension of lockdown follows recent High Court orders to curb the ongoing COVID-19 surge. The Madras High Court had on April 26 asked the governments of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to consider imposing lockdowns on May 1 and 2. The first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy gave the suggestion while passing further interim orders on an issue relating to alleged shortages of Remdesivir drug, ventilators and beds and diversion of oxygen cylinders to other states.
Extensive arrangements have been made for counting day on May 2.
"For the counting of votes on May 2 at Lawspet, those authorised to enter the counting hall should carry a COVID-19 negative test report (of RT-PCR failing which of RAT) to enter the premises. Contesting candidates, agents, staff involved in the counting process as well as the media have to undergo RT-PCR testing. Further, there shall be a back-up plan to deploy RAT in case RT-PCR testing poses any constraints,” The New Indian Express reported.
On Wednesday, Puducherry recorded its highest surge in COVID-19 cases to date, recording 1,258 cases and 10 deaths. The figures of cases and fatalities have taken the total number of COVID-19 cases in Puducherry, so far, to 56,305 and 781 deaths; the Union territory has a recovery rate of 83.6 per cent.