Members of Parliament (MPs) will require COVID-19 negative reports of themselves, their family members and other close contacts to attend the upcoming monsoon session, beginning September 14.
According to detailed guidelines issued by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats, the close contacts of MPs include personal assistant (PA), personal secretary (PS), driver and maid.
The COVID-19 test of the MPs need to be done 72 hours before the start of the session and it can be done either in their constituencies or at the Parliament complex.
“In case a member is found to be negative, she/he can attend the session…. In case a member is found positive, she/he will have to go for institutional isolation/hospitalisation as per advice of doctor and as per patient/clinical management protocol,” according to the guidelines.
The guidelines further say for safety purposes, MPs’ family and staff members can undergo COVID-19 test on the Parliament premises as well.
If a family member of an MP or PA/PS/driver/maid is found COVID-19 positive, then the parliamentarian is in high risk zone and has to go for quarantine for 14 days from the last day of their contact.
Besides this, the secretariats of both houses in the nine-page guidelines have also emphasised on wearing mask, maintaining physical distance of six feet, keeping hands clean during the session.
Staff members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats will also undergo COVID-19 test, which is going to be started from Saturday.
Thousands of masks and gloves, hundreds of sanitiser bottles and face shields, touch-free operation of doors, and COVID-19 tests for an estimated 4,000 people including MPs and staff members — several arrangements have been made for the 18-day session that would be held under the shadow of a pandemic for the first time ever.
Frequent sanitisation of the entire Parliament complex will also be carried out, while arrangements have been made to sanitise various parliamentary papers as well as footwear and cars of MPs, officials said.
Frisking of people will also make way for touch-less security scanning, while thermal scanning will also be totally touch-free.
The first-of-its-kind monsoon session will see Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha sitting in two different shifts, while special seating arrangements have been made for MPs in adherence to social distancing guidelines.
For making the entire Parliament complex a safe zone in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu have held extensive discussions with officials of the Home Ministry, Health Ministry, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
The Monsoon Session will be held from September 14 to October 1