COVID-19 Cannot Stop Elections From Taking Place – WHO

The World Health Organisation(WHO) has seemingly addressed the plight faced by Zimbabwe that saw the Health Ministry led by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga banning by-elections using SI 225A of 2020, Newsday reports.

Speaking during a virtual meeting WHO executive director for health emergencies programme Michael Ryan said the ongoing pandemic cannot stop elections from taking place because they are an essential part of people’s lives.

Said Ryan:

It is possible to hold safe elections if the proper measures are put in place. Elections do many things. They are an essential part of our lives, and they are absolutely central to how many societies live, survive, and thrive,

They (elections) are very important parts of the cycle of life. However, they do tend to bring people together. We’ve seen many examples over the last nine months where elections have actually been held very safely and with appropriate measures and have been straightforward enough to manage and implement.

We do offer them advice on how to reduce those risks if inperson elections are the way forward. In fact, we are working right now and finalising specific guidance for countries that choose in-person elections, learning from the last eight, nine months as to what has worked in those circumstances. We will be issuing that guidance in the coming days

It takes effort. We have worked very closely in the past in the same way we have done for all types of mass gatherings. We have worked on a risk management approach. You cannot reduce the risk to zero, but what you can do is identify and manage those risks, especially where in-person voting is the choice of the country. We don’t specify to any country what the proper choice is for the type of election they need to run, that is based on their own risk assessment

Meanwhile, Elections were held in Malawi and Burundi during the ongoing pandemic successfully and Tanzania will be headed for the presidential polls soon.

More: Newsday

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