17 Lok Sabha MPs test coronavirus-positive as Monsoon Session begins
On the day the Monsoon Session of the Parliament began amid a raging coronavirus crisis, a record 17 Lok Sabha MPs, most belonging to the ruling BJP, tested positive for the highly-contagious disease. The BJP members who contracted the infection include Meenakshi Lekhi, Anant Kumar Hegde, and Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma, among others. Two members of the YSR Congress also tested positive. Here's more.
Last month, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla held a key meeting with the Health Ministry, ICMR, AIIMS to understand how the 18-day-long session could be held under the shadow of coronavirus. To recall, both Houses of the Parliament were adjourned in March, days before the country was locked down. After the meeting, it was decided that all MPs, staff, and officials would be tested.
Reports said the parliamentarians who contracted the infection were tested on September 13-14. One member each from Shiv Sena, RLP, and DMK also tested positive. Informing of his diagnosis, BJP's Sukanta Majumdar tweeted, "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."
Lekhi tested positive but is in "good spirits"
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
In fact, a number of politicians have tested positive for COVID-19, the most notable one being Home Minister Amit Shah. After defeating the disease last month, Shah was discharged from Gurugram's Medanta Hospital, but in less than a week was admitted to AIIMS for post-COVID-19 care. On Sunday, Shah was re-admitted to the premier health facility for "routine medical check-up," suggested reports.
Notably, the complications linked to the fatal disease also killed prominent politicians. Former President and Congress veteran Pranab Mukherjee breathed his last on August 31, days after he tested positive. Former Union Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh passed away on Sunday at AIIMS while being treated for coronavirus-related complications. Congress MP H Vasanthakumar, who spoke about the pandemic in Lok Sabha in March, also died.
PM Modi advised against letting guard down till vaccine arrives
Today, before the session began with elaborate precautions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his customary address to the press, thanked the parliamentarians for discharging duties during the extraordinary times. He also suggested against showing laxity until a vaccine is found. India, the second worst-affected nation, added over 93,000 fresh infections on Sunday. The case's tally stands at 4,850,887 and deaths at 79,784.