The first day of the Monsoon Session of the Parliament on 14 September 2020 | ANI
The first day of the Monsoon Session of the Parliament on 14 September 2020 | ANI
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New Delhi: As many as 24 MPs tested positive for the coronavirus Monday — the first day of the Parliament’s monsoon session.

Of the 24 MPs, 17 are from Lok Sabha and seven from Rajya Sabha, sources in the Lok Sabha secretariat said.

Junior Railway Minister Suresh Angadi, BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi, Anant Kumar Hegde, Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma, Rita Bahuguna Joshi and Janardan Singh Sigriwal are among the 24 MPs, who have contracted the virus, the sources added.

The MPs were tested starting from 11 September at the in-House Covid-19 testing facility. Results of several other MPs are awaited.

Nearly 200 MPs were present in the Lok Sabha chamber Monday and around 30 of them were seated in the visitors’ gallery located above the main chamber.


Also read: Why coronavirus is making India’s politicians nervous


One test negative, another positive

Among the 24 parliamentarians, who tested positive, is Rajasthan BJP MP Sukhbir Singh Jaunapuria, who had last month recommended blowing a conch and frolicking in mud, apart from munching on leaves to “build up immunity against the coronavirus”.

Another Rajasthan BJP MP Hanuman Beniwal, who tested positive at the Parliament Covid testing facility Monday, turned out to be negative after medical reports from Jaipur’s SMS hospital came Sunday.

“I have done two tests — one is SMS hospital, which declared me negative, but my parliament report is positive. I have informed the Lok Sabha speaker, but I am wondering which report to trust,” he told ThePrint.

Parliament’s Covid safety measures

Proper safety arrangements were put in place to ensure distancing between the members. 

Plastic shields were installed in front of the members’ benches in order to ensure safe distance. A few large screens were installed in both the Houses so that members can watch the proceedings. Several sanitiser-vending machines were also installed in the House gallery.

Benches in both the Houses, which earlier used to seat six members, are now being allowed for only three members.

For this session, both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha implemented app-based attendance to curb the Covid risk

Sources in the Lok Sabha secretariat said members have been instructed to undergo thermal screening before attending the Parliament session.

Further, MPs above 65 years of age have also been asked to not attend the Parliament, they added.

The Trinamool Congress has already advised its MPs not to attend the monsoon session. Around 200 MPs out of the 785 are above the 65 age bracket.


Also read: Why so many politicians have got Covid, and what they should do to prevent infection


 

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