Election officials of Newfoundland and Labrador canceled the face-to-face vote the day before many polling stations opened due to an alarm rising in COVID-19 cases in the province

Elections Newfoundland and Labrador said Friday night that the provincial elections will now be postponed entirely to postal voting and that the ballot papers will be held by Jan. March to be accepted

Voters have until Monday at 8 p.m. According to a statement by election officer Bruce Chaulk, who is extending a deadline originally set for Saturday evening, voting packages are to be requested

Election officials had already postponed voting for 18 of the province’s 40 counties due to the spread of COVID-19, mainly due to the loss of election workers who refused to work for fear of exposure

The decision came shortly after health officials put the entire province back on alert level 5, the highest level under the Newfoundland and Labrador pandemic plan

Over 200 new cases of COVID-19 have been discovered in the last three days, 100 of them on Thursday alone – by far the highest daily number since the beginning of the pandemic.The cases are mostly concentrated in the greater St John’s subway area

Chief Medical Health Officer Dr Janice Fitzgerald said Friday that the B117 The variant of the virus, first discovered in the UK, is behind the sudden surge in infections and is responsible for all 248 new cases reported in the past seven days

The variant is more contagious than the original strain of COVID-19, which has killed four people in Newfoundland and Labrador since early 2020, although it is not believed to be any more deadly

The main provincial political parties praised the actions of Chaulk and Fitzgerald Friday, but progressive Conservative leader Ches Crosbie criticized the delay in deciding on the personal vote

“Our province deserves a thoughtful conversation about why it took us so long to make the right decision to postpone this choice and how we hold our political leaders accountable,” he wrote. “But this discussion have to wait for another day ”

A spokesman for the Progressive Conservatives told Global News that it was unclear what the delay in voting for further campaigns until Jan. March would mean and he hopes more information will be provided in the coming days

In her own statement, NDP chairman Alison Coffin reiterated her party’s position that the elections should not have taken place until August “when most of the people in the province had been vaccinated”

“I remain convinced that it was irresponsible for Andrew Furey to even name this election,” she said, referring to the Liberal Party leader who is standing for re-election as Prime Minister

“Aside from hoping for political gain, there was absolutely no need for him to hold this election in the middle of winter at the height of a pandemic”

Newfoundland and Labrador are the fourth province to hold elections since the pandemic in Canada

The other three – New Brunswick, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan – saw no delays in their election dates and took place during a relatively quiet period of September and October, when cases weren’t rising as fast compared to late fall and early day Winter

In all three provinces, however, there was an increase in new infections after their elections, although the mail-in vote was expanded

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Election NL 5 Alert

World News – CA – Newfoundland and Labrador Cancel Face-to-Face Voting as COVID-19 Cases Rise

Source: https://globalnews.ca/news/7638818/newfoundland-election-voting-coronavirus/