Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya today  appealed to health authorities  not to delay promulgating regulations under the Quarantine and Prevention of Diseases Ordinance incorporating  election related COVID-19 guidelines.

Deshapriya said the guidelines were handed over to the EC on 5 June but a month later they were yet to be given legal teeth by way of a Gazette Notification.

He said that the Legal Draftsperson as well as the Attorney General have  approved the regulations while the resident too has said to expedite this matter but there seemed to be a delay somewhere.

Deshapriya said in the meantime candidates were carrying on their campaigns in the usual manner disregarding all safety measures  with  no social distancing or use of masks or following any safety measures.

"I appeal to the health authorities   to promulgate these regulations as soon as possible and to the candidates to ensure they adhere to the guidelines. It will only take one COVID-19 patients among the crowd for it to spread,"he said.

The regulations, once promulgated, will make it mandatory  to adhere to restrictions on  the numbers attending rallies and other safety rules during the election campaign as well as on polling day and during counting of ballots.

Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Dr.Anil Jasinghe is  the Competent Authority under the Ordinance and is tasked with issuing the COVID-19 related Gazette notifications.