Jakarta – Hundreds of polling station officers across 12 regencies and cities in South Sulawesi have shown reactive results after taking COVID-19 rapid tests ahead of the simultaneous regional elections, which fall on Wednesday.
South Sulawesi General Elections Commission (KPUD) commissioner Fatmawati Rahim said testing data was still coming in for polling station officers in all regencies and cities. The commission will only allow healthy officers to perform their duties at the polling stations.
"Since we are two days away from election day, we have to ensure that every officer on duty is in perfect health. Those who have shown reactive results will be relieved from duty," Fatmawati said as quoted by kompas.id on Monday.
According to Fatmawati, regions with a low number of COVID-19 cases, such as Maros and Barru, only reported a few officers with reactive results.
Meanwhile, areas with a higher number reported more reactive results. Makassar recorded the highest number of officers with reactive results with 400, followed by Gowa with 140.
"It won't be easy to find a replacement due to our time constraints. However, those who have shown reactive results will be discharged from their duty effectively. We will make an arrangement so that there will be five officers at every polling site, apart from security guards," Fatmawati said.
She also explained that officers from other areas would be assigned to certain areas that were understaffed, with the hope being that the election runs smoothly despite the lack of manpower.
Endang Sari, a commissioner from KPUD Makassar, said that the city recorded 462 officers with reactive results last week.
After further testing on Sunday, it found that 127 officers were still showing reactive results. The number later went down to 68 after another round of testing. These officers were later ordered to undergo a swab test.
"Some of the officers decided to quit the job because they didn't want to take the swab test. There are 17 officers who have taken swab tests. We are still waiting for the results," Endang said.
In response to the KPUD's move to order multiple rapid tests to examine the polling station officers' health, Hasanuddin University epidemiologist Ridwan Amiruddin said that swab tests should be administered as soon as any officer shows a reactive result.
"They should immediately undergo a swab test and stay in isolation, especially since getting a swab test is easier and quicker nowadays. Getting multiple rapid tests will not lead to a precise result," Ridwan said. (dpk)