MPs will be asked to get themselves tested for coronavirus at least 72 hours before the start of the Monsoon Session of Parliament, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said on Friday. Besides MPs, parliament staff and media personnel, among other entrants to the building, will also be required to undergo the test.
Visitors will not be allowed during the session that will be held as per the guidelines, including those on social distancing, issued by the health ministry in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. The session is likely to start from September 14 and conclude on October 1.
To finalise the arrangements for the upcoming session, Birla on Friday chaired a meeting of officials from the Ministry of Health, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Delhi government, and Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats.
"Comprehensive arrangements have been made in the Parliament building for the upcoming session in wake of the pandemic and MPs will be requested to get tested for coronavirus at least 72 hours before the start of the session," he said after the meeting. Random tests will also be conducted in Parliament.
Besides MPs, all those expected to enter the premises, including officials from ministries, representatives from the media, and staff of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats, will also be tested before the start of the session, Birla said.
Top sources in the Lok Sabha Secretariat said that all central hall passes have been suspended.
Birla said arrangements have also been made for zero-touch security checks during the session and, if required, random tests for COVID-19 can be conducted during the session.
Birla said the sitting arrangement of all MPS has been done keeping in mind the guidelines issued by the Health Ministry and the protocol of social distancing would be adequately followed. He said all other arrangements have been reviewed to ensure the best of safety for all members, their staff and others.
Birla said he was hopeful the MPs would abide by the protocol and not violate any guideline.
A series of meetings have already taken place and reviews have been done keeping in mind the 18-day session that begin on September 14.
The Centre has listed 11 ordinances to be passed in the Monsoon Session.