Guidelines declare 10-day quarantine mandatory for campaign trips

Launch of Rahvehi Fathis, MDP's campaign for the local council elections 2020, on February 21, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Guidelines drafted by Health Protection Agency (HPA) for the upcoming local council elections state people who travel to islands on campaign will need to undergo 10 days of home quarantine.

HPA drafted the guidelines under recent revisions to the Special Provisions Act on Local Council Elections 2020 – which allow for the elections to be held without lifting the state of public health emergency declared over the COVID-19 pandemic.

While HPA has yet to publicize the guidelines, a copy of the guidelines received by Sun shows candidates will need to adhere to the quarantine rule in place for domestic travel. Candidates will also be barred from conducting door-to-door visits to campaign for support in islands placed under monitoring.

“Limiting the number of people to two when visiting houses for political activities as a protective measure. And wearing masks as a protecting measure when visiting houses. Refraining from handshakes as a way of greeting. Maintaining a physical distance of at least three feet,” reads the guidelines.

 HPA’s guidelines recommend candidates to opt for online platforms instead of visiting houses for their campaign, and to hold campaign rallies virtually.


The guidelines state that designated vehicles must be arranged to transport COVID-19 patients, their contacts, and people who show symptoms consistent with COVID-19 to polling stations, and that protective measures must be taken during transport.

The guidelines also state a specific time must be designated for such parties to cast their vote, and that such parties must not use public transport.

 Voters who do not show any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will also need to keep a physical distance of three feet when queueing at polling stations, must wear face masks, and must use hand sanitizer.

Meanwhile, polling stations need to have hand sanitizers at the entrance, voters must be instructed to use hand sanitizer, chairs must be placed at a three-feet distance, and doors and windows must be opened to allow for better ventilation.

The guidelines instruct Elections Commission to prioritize applicants who can work from the island itself when selecting poll workers and train poll workers virtually. Poll workers who travel to islands for the elections will also need to adhere to the quarantine rule.

Travelling to an island on behalf of Elections Commission on trips that last less than five days will require a written request to HPA for permission.

The guidelines also state that arrangements must be made in resorts to facilitate voting for workers.

According to the Special Provisions Act on Local Council Elections 2020, HPA has a week to publicize the elections guidelines.