Aizawl, the 30th April 2021: Commission's Broad Guidelines No. 464/INST/2021/EPS dated 28th April 2021 for COVID safety during counting of votes on 2nd May, 2021, and para 26 of Commission's press note-no. ECI/PN/16/2021 dated 26.02.2021 regarding effective use of media wherein it is mentioned as under,

"Media is also expected to follow all the extant guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) regarding COVID-19 containment measures during all their election related coverage. Besides, the guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India on 21st August, 2020 with regards to conduct of elections during COVID-19, shall also be applied while giving access to the media persons for the coverage of election process during polling and counting of votes etc."

The Commission has issued consolidated guidelines in this regard on 28.04.2021. It is hereby clarified that:

(i) These guidelines, wherever applicable shall also be applied mutatis mutandis to the media persons authorized to cover the counting process.

(ii) District Election Officer shall facilitate the RT-PCR/RAT test in such cases. However, only negative RT-PCR/RAT report/two dose vaccination report will be accepted. Report from any authorized labwill also be accepted for this purpose.

(iii)The media room, inside the counting center premises should be sufficiently big to maintain social distancing and should have proper ventilation, windows, exhaust fan etc.

(iv)Entry of the media persons should be regulated properly. They will be taken inside the counting hall in very small batches in intervals in such a way that there should not be any violation of social distancing norms.

(v)DEO being the Nodal Officer for this purpose shall ensure adherence to the all COVID-19 related norms for/by the authorised media persons at counting centers.