Coronavirus pandemic

Measures to ensure a safe space for voters

SEOUL • Wearing masks, keeping a one-metre distance from other people and washing hands for 30 seconds before and after voting.

These are steps recommended by South Korea's National Election Commission for voters who will be out on April 15 to elect new lawmakers.

Voters are also advised to check their temperature before heading out, wear plastic gloves at polling stations and avoid talking to anyone.

The government pledged yesterday to take precautionary measures to create a safe voting environment for the general election.

This includes sanitising every polling station, temperature scanning and setting a separate booth for voters who show symptoms on arrival.

Coronavirus patients will be allowed to vote by mail. About 4,000 of them, who are being treated, are eligible to vote.

Interior Minister Chin Young said yesterday that the government will "guarantee the patients' right to vote as much as possible".

The authorities are also looking at options for those who are in quarantine, like allowing them to vote from home.

The government has already suspended overseas voting in 51 countries affected by the pandemic, including the United States and many European nations.

This means 86,000 people, about half of the number of South Koreans living overseas, will not be able to vote.

"The decision was made considering the impact on the safety and health of our nationals living abroad when they vote in places exposed to high infection risk," said a joint ministry statement.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 03, 2020, with the headline 'Measures to ensure a safe space for voters'. Print Edition | Subscribe