Amid concern over large poll rallies in the middle of rising infections, the government today briefed the Election Commission on the Covid situation in the five states due to vote in February-March - Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan also briefed the Election Commission on the threat posed by the Omicron strain.
The country today reported over 90,000 new cases -- a steep 65 per cent jump - with a surge in Omicron cases. The violation of Covid safety rules at mega political rallies in the poll-bound states has led to calls for a delay in the elections.
In the politically vital Uttar Pradesh, parties like the Congress, the BJP and Samajwadi Party have been cancelling rallies, responding to the concern over "super-spreader" events attended by thousands.
The Election Commission has asked the states to step up vaccinations and ensure that those likely to be on election duty are double-vaccinated.
In a recent letter to the chief secretaries of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Manipur and Punjab, the poll body had stressed that polling personnel come under the category of frontline workers and are eligible for the "precaution dose" of the Covid vaccines, news agency PTI reported quoting sources.
The term of the Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly ends in May, the terms of the legislative assemblies of Goa, Manipur and Punjab end in March.