Over 25 parliamentarians have tested positive for coronavirus in the mandatory tests that were conducted before the beginning of the monsoon session. Sources said 17 of the MPs are from Lok Sabha, and nine are from the Rajya Sabha.
Among those infected in the Lok Sabha, the BJP has the maximum with 12 MPs, the YRS Congress has two, and the Shiv Sena, DMK and RLP have one each. The Lok Sabha members were tested at the Parliament House on September 13 and 14, sources said. In Rajya Sabha, two each from BJP and Congress and one each from AIADMK,TRS, AAP and TMC were found to be infected.
Some leaders tweeted and informed about their Covid-19 report.
The results sparked a Covid-19 scare in Parliament which is meeting with protocols such as social distancing, usage of masks and sanitisers. The Monsoon session is already being held after a long delay and in a truncated fashion. The session normally begins in the last week of June or in the first week of July and lasts for a month.
Among the other changes and precautions being undertaken for smooth functioning amid the Covid crisis that has pushed India’s disease burden to over 48.5 lakh cases, the government decided that Lok Sabha will sit from 9 am to 1 pm while the Rajya Sabha will function from 3 pm to 7 pm, with special seating for Members of Parliament (MPs) to ensure social distancing.
While close to 200 members were in attendance in the Lok Sabha chamber, over 30 were seated in the visitors’ gallery situated above the main chamber. A giant TV screen in the Lok Sabha chamber displayed very few Lok Sabha members occupying seats in the Rajya Sabha chamber, meanwhile, in the other venue, Lok Sabha MPs were accommodated following all physical distancing norms. Benches which, generally accommodate six members had a staggered sitting plan for just three.
Earlier, the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Secretariats had issued a detailed set of guidelines for MPs, their personal staff and parliamentary employees, stating that a Covid-19 test report is mandatory for entering Parliament.