Portugal to allow COVID-infected voters to leave home on election day


LISBON (Reuters) – Portuguese voters with COVID-19 or these in isolation due to publicity to the rampant virus will likely be allowed to leave home to forged their ballots in a snap election on Jan. 30, the federal government stated on Wednesday.

The announcement got here a day after Portugal, which has nearly 90% of its 10 million inhabitants absolutely inoculated, reported a each day report of 43,729 COVID-19 infections, stoked by the quick spreading Omicron variant. Hospital admissions and mortality stay nicely under ranges seen within the earlier peaks.

Interior Minister Francisca Van Dunem instructed a information convention quarantined voters ought to solely head to polling stations from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., urging these not contaminated to go earlier than that interval.

The advice shouldn’t be obligatory. They should put on a face masks, preserve a social distance and might solely leave home to vote.

Staff working at polling stations will likely be given protecting gear.

“We want a social pact that permits everybody to vote in security,” stated Van Dunem, asking these in isolation not to take public transport to the polling station however stroll or use their very own automobile as a substitute.

The head of well being authority DGS, Graca Freitas, stated there can be no designated areas for these with COVID-19 to vote in and they might not be required to present proof of their well being standing on the polls.

“This answer of getting a devoted time interval for these individuals to vote… will stop, not completely, however will minimise the danger of contagion,” Freitas stated.

The election was known as after parliament rejected the minority Socialist authorities’s price range invoice for 2022. Prime Minister Antonio Costa’s get together has a snug lead in opinion polls however is probably going to fall wanting a full parliamentary majority.

The election marketing campaign is in full swing after Sunday’s kick-off and avenue rallies draw massive crowds, the place mask-wearing is optionally available.

(Reporting by Catarina Demony and Miguel Pereira; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Angus MacSwan)

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