The number of MLAs and ministers positive for coronavirus has increased to 29 from 23 yesterday, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh informed on Thursday. The veteran Congress leader urged the legislators who have come in contact with the infected MLAs to not attend the one-day Vidhan Sabha session on Friday.
To prevent Covid transmission during the Assembly session, Mr Singh has ordered the authorities to install machines at the premises as well as at Punjab Bhawan and MLAs' hostel, for quick testing.
Only those who test negative within 48 hours of the assembly session are allowed to attend.
Mr Singh said the protests launched by the AAP MLAs since August 20 have become "tinder boxes" for sparking new infections.
"The protests by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), led by their MLAs, are endangering the lives of people. With anything between 25 to 250 people present at each of these gatherings/dharnas, they have become tinder boxes for sparking further spread of the pandemic," Mr Singh said in an official statement.
He said that eight AAP leaders or MLAs who led these protests - over Punjab hooch tragedy and other issues - have tested positive for the virus.
The Chief Minister reiterated his appeal to all political parties to refrain from physical protests at this critical juncture, when cases in the state were spiralling and projected to see a major spike in the coming weeks, the statement read.
The coronavirus cases in Punjab - which had been praised for keeping its count low - are now rising rapidly. The state has reported over 46,000 cases including over 1,200 deaths.
Earlier this month, Punjab had ordered a daily night curfew - from 7 PM to 5 AM - and a weekend lockdown in all 167 cities and towns in the state to arrest the growth of coronavirus in the state.