Making news

HCM City prepares polling sites at quarantine areas

Ho Chi Minh City’s local authorities are cooperating with health centres and agencies to set up polling sites and finish preparations for the elections of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and People's Councils for the 2021-26 tenure on May 23.

According to the city's Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention, as of Friday more than 3,800 people were staying at the city’s quarantine areas and 485 others were isolated at home.

The city authorities said that 3,830 voters are staying in quarantine areas.

Dr Nguyen Trung Hoa, head of the Go Vap district Health Centre, said: “Local election teams including one health official will bring a ballot box to houses where voters are quarantined.”

After voters cast their ballots, the box will be sealed and disinfected and then transported by hospital vehicles to voting sites, Hoa said.

As of May 20, 55 people in the district have finished their quarantine time and will go to voting sites in wards where they live.

At the quarantine area in the district’s ward 15, the centre’s health officials have set aside a separate site for the elections, in cooperation with the ward’s election team.

“Sixteen voters at the quarantine area are expected to take part in the elections on Sunday (May 23). Each of them will be invited to go down to the election site to keep a safe distance to avoid transmission,” Hoa said.

All pens, papers and other items at the election site will be used only once, he said, adding that chairs and the path to the site will be disinfected.

“All information about the elections including biographies of candidates and their action programmes has been provided to voters. The district’s list of candidates was uploaded in the Zalo group for these voters,” he added.        

Preparation for the elections has been completed at the Cu Chi COVID-19 treatment hospital in Cu Chi district where 19 COVID-19 patients are being treated and 328 people are quarantined.

Senior Lieutenant Colonel Truong Dang Khoa, deputy political commissar of the Military School at the HCM City High Command, said that his unit was collaborating with staff at the field hospital to publish a list of voters and health officials there on Sunday. 

The list of candidates and their action programmes have been published for the voters.

“We are cooperating with relevant agencies to organise the election according to legal regulations, ensuring that quarantined voters and patients can take part in the election,” Khoa added.

Authorities in lock-downed areas, including some streets and buildings in District 3 and Thu Duc city, said that district staff members were co-operating with local health officials to organise the elections for voters.

Health officials and staff of election teams will wear protective clothing when they visit areas under lockdown and quarantine areas.

Speaking at a conference held earlier this week in the city, Nguyen Thi Le, Vice Secretary of the HCM City Party Committee and Chairwoman of the People’s Council, said that Thu Duc city and 21 districts had finished preparations for the elections. 
Le told people’s committee in wards, communes, and towns to create schedules for voting to avoid a large number of voters at the same time at voting sites.

The city has nearly 5.5 million voters and 3,092 election teams.
The Election Committee has issued plans on preventive measures against COVID-19. Plans were made for voting sites; voters quarantined at home; voters in quarantine areas and under lockdown; and health establishments where COVID-19 patients and people suspected of having COVID-19 are being treated.  

If voting sites are under lockdown due to a COVID-19 outbreak, election teams must strengthen disinfection. Attendees must keep a distance of at least 2m between them. The election procedures and times for voting must be arranged at each voting site and residential area.

Voting will take place from 7am to 7pm on May 23. Based on the local situation, election teams can start earlier but not before 5am. They can also end later, but not after 9pm.

The city Department of Health requires that masks and hand sanitizers should be available at voting sites for voters.

The city has 37 candidates for the election of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and 158 for the elections of People's Council deputies at all levels./.