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(LEAD) Self-isolators without coronavirus symptoms allowed to vote

Politics 19:14 April 12, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS more info in last 2 paras)

SEOUL, April 12 (Yonhap) -- Self-isolators will be allowed to cast ballots in the upcoming parliamentary elections if they do not show symptoms of coronavirus infection, authorities said Sunday.

"People who were ordered to go into self-quarantine from April 1-14 and show no symptoms on the day of voting can cast ballots," Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said in a press briefing. "Wearing face masks, they should go to polling stations on foot or by car, while using mass transportation is strictly banned."

South Korea has been seeking ways to permit those in self-isolation over COVID-19 to vote in the April 15 general elections while minimizing the risk of infecting others.

They were not allowed to take part in early voting held Friday and Saturday. The polls will be held from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The minister said those in self-quarantine will be accompanied by health officials from their isolation facilities to polling stations at a separately designated time in a bid to keep them from meeting other voters.

The authorities said self-isolators will be allowed to leave their facilities after 5:20 p.m. and they have to arrive at polling stations before 6 p.m. After voting, they have to return to their facilities by 7 p.m.

Meanwhile, the National Election Commission (NEC), the election watchdog, said it will come up with detailed plans on the movements of the self-isolators soon.

Voters wait in line to cast ballots in early voting for the April 15 parliamentary elections at a polling station set up at Seoul Station, central Seoul, on April 11, 2020. (Yonhap)

brk@yna.co.kr
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