Seventeen members of the Lok Sabha and eight from the Rajya Sabha have tested positive for coronavirus in the mandatory tests carried out before the monsoon session of parliament started this morning, sources said. Among the infected Lok Sabha MPs, the BJP has a maximum number -- 12. The YSR Congress has two MPs, the Shiv Sena, DMK and RLP one each.
Sources said altogether, 56 people tested positive during the RT-PCR Tests conducted in the parliament building complex by September 12. The figure includes officials, media persons and MPs of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
One of the infected MPs, Meenakshi Lekhi tweeted: "After the routine Parliament test for COVID & genome test it's confirmed that I have tested positive for the virus. I am currently in good health & spirits. I request everyone who has been recently in contact with me to get tested. Together We will fight & defeat Corona."
After the routine Parliament test for COVID & genome test it's confirmed that I have tested positive for the virus. I am currently in good health & spirits. I request everyone who has been recently in contact with me to get tested. Together We will fight & defeat Corona— Meenakashi Lekhi (@M_Lekhi) September 14, 2020
The BJP's Sukanta Majumdar ws the first to tweet his positive status yesterday. "Requesting all those who have come in close contact with me in the last few days to monitor their health and get tested in case of any symptoms," his tweet read.
Around 200 of the 785 MPs are above the age of 65 years and are among the population vulnerable to coronavirus.
Earlier, at least seven Union ministers and around 25 MPs and MLAs had contracted the disease. Among them was Union home minister Amit Shah, who underwent a thorough medical check-up before the parliament session started.
An MP and several MLAS have died from the highly infectious disease.
The parliament session is being held amid huge safety measures that include staggered seating of the MPs in chambers of both Houses to maintain physical distancing. A mobile app has been introduced to register their attendance and seats in the house have been separated with poly-carbon sheets.
Ahead of the session, all members were requested to get themselves tested for COVID-19.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla told NDTV that a large number of MPs attended the first day's session. "It shows how strong the roots of democracy are. The coming of MPs even in extraordinary circumstances is a big thing," added the Speaker, who had sent special covid kits to all MPs.
The kits, provided by prepared by defence research organisation DRDO, disposable masks, N-95 masks, sanitisers, face shields, gloves, herbal sanitation wipes and tea bags to enhance immunity. Each kit also contains a Covid safety manual for the MPs.