New Delhi: Keeping in mind the rising cases of coronavirus across the country, the Election Commission on Wednesday issued fresh order saying candidates will not be allowed inside vote counting centres on May 2 without negative RT-PCR test report or two vaccine shots.Also Read - Covid or no COVID, Work From Home Policy Stays on Table For Several Companies | Full List

“Candidates or their agents who have received both the doses of Covid-19 vaccine can also enter the counting hall on May 2 when votes for Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu will be counted,” according to the guidelines issued on Wednesday. Also Read - India Reports First Case Of Omicron Subvariant BA.4 in Hyderabad

However, the EC said that no public gathering outside the counting venue will be allowed during the process of counting. Also Read - Apple Postpones Plans Return to Office After Rise in Covid-19 Cases

“No candidates or agents will be allowed inside the counting hall without undergoing RT-PCR/RAT test or without having two doses of vaccination against Covid-19 and will have to produce negative RT-PCR report or RAT report or vaccination reports within 48 hours of start of counting,” the guideline read.

Here’s the order from the EC: 

Counting starts at 8 am on May 2. The EC on Tuesday decided to make more stringent the provisions to be followed during the process of counting.

“No victory procession after the counting on May 2 shall be permissible,” an order issued by the poll body to chief electoral officers of all states and UTs said.

The Madras High Court had on Monday castigated the Election Commission over the COVID-19 second wave in the country holding it ‘singularly’ responsible for the spread, called it the “the most irresponsible institution” and had even said its officials may be booked under murder charges.