SEOUL – South Korea, the country experiencing its biggest ever Covid-19 wave, will set aside a 90-minute period only for voters with coronavirus to cast their ballots at polling stations in the next month.
The recent surge in coronavirus cases has raised questions about how closely the country’s presidential elections are held. Lawmakers agreed this week to set aside 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on March 9, Election Day, to Covid voters. Remaining voters will vote from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m
“Protecting everyone’s right to vote is paramount,” Dr. Jung Jae-hun, a professor who is a Covid-19 policy adviser to the prime minister, said in an interview. “It is entirely possible to do so while containing the outbreak.”
The National Election Commission reported on Thursday that interest in voting in the upcoming election has reached its highest level since 2012, demonstrating that a rise in coronavirus infections may not reduce voter turnout. elected.
Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party and Yoon Suk-yeol of the opposition People’s Power Party.
About 44 million eligible voters reside in South Korea, according to the election commission. But with the rate of infection accelerating, up to a million people could contract Covid on Election Day, according to Dr. Jung, a professor of preventive medicine at Gachon University near Seoul.
Government health protocols require people with Covid to stay at home. The special period on Election Day will allow them to leave for voting purposes.
The daily download in Korea was 93,135 on Thursday. By comparison, in the last national election of the coronavirus eraIn 2020, the government reports fewer than 40 new infections per day.
The Omicron variant has overwhelmed Korea’s public health system to the point where the government has abandoned it use mobile QR code for this week’s contact tracing purposes, hold individuals accountable to alert their close contacts if they test positive.
Some legal experts and officials say the government should provide more ways for people with coronavirus to vote. Young-Soo Chang, a law professor at Korea University, said the government should allocate two time periods instead of one.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/18/world/asia/south-korea-election-covid.html Korea prepares for another Covid-Era national election