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Parliament's Monsoon Session: 4-day COVID testing camp begins

IANS

New Delhi, September 5, 2020

Ahead of the Monsoon Session of Parliament commencing on September 14, an in-house four-day coronavirus (COVID-19) testing camp was started on Saturday for officials and other staff deployed at the complex to ensure minimum health risks during the period.

On the first day of testing, all officials working in Parliament were asked to go for COVID-19 tests. The testing will continue till Tuesday to cover other staff and security personnel.

Parliament officials told IANS that Real-Time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests and Rapid Tests will be done. RT-PCR tests have been prescribed for those having any COVID-like symptoms while the rest will undergo Rapid Testing.

The Lok Sabha Secretariat has arranged for seven counters during the COVID-19 testing camp at the reception of Parliament House.

No symptomatic person will be allowed into the House during the session.

The members have been requested to get their RT-PCR tests done 72 hours prior to arrival at Parliament after September 11.

If the tests are not done, then it will be done at the reception and the members will have to wait till the results are out.

The MPs have been advised to get their personal staff and family tested ahead of the session.

Detailed guidelines have been sent to the Members of Parliament for this purpose.

If any of the personal staff or family members tests positive, then the MPs concerned will have to isolate themselves and follow mandatory government guidelines.

Media persons allowed to cover the upcoming session will also have to go through mandatory RT-PCR tests 72 hours before the beginning of the session, which will see 18 sittings each for the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. There will be no holiday or weekend break.

The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Secretariats had earlier issued detailed guidelines for MPs, their personal staff and parliamentary employees, stating that a Covid-19 test report is mandatory for entering Parliament.

As per the schedule, the Lower House session will be held on September 14 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. From September 15 to October 1, the Lok Sabha will sit from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The Rajya Sabha is expected to meet at a different time on September 14, as it has been decided to stagger the sittings of the two Houses due to the COVID-19 guidelines.

The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs had earlier recommended that the Monsoon Session be held from September 14 to October 1.

Hectic preparations are underway for the session, with several first-time measures put in place because of the pandemic, such as testing, staggered sittings of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, and use of both chambers and galleries to accommodate members while following physical distancing norms.

Thermal guns and thermal scanners will be used for noting the body temperatures of all those entering the House. In addition, proper measures for sanitisation of the premises will be undertaken.

Touchless sanitisers will be installed at 40 spots within the House and emergency medical teams and ambulances will be put on standby.

All guidelines related to COVID-19 prevention will have to be strictly followed.

Members will be allowed to address the Chair while sitting on their seats.

IANS

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