LUCKNOW: The three-day Monsoon Session of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly will commence on Thursday, with authorities making special seating arrangements following COVID-19 protocols and setting up testing centres near residences of MLAs for easy collection of swab samples.
Assembly Speaker Hriday Narayan Dixit has said all members will undergo COVID-19 test in a day and there will also be thermal screening facility outside the House.
In the run-up to the session, coronavirus tests were carried out on 600 staff members of the Assembly on Monday.
Twenty staffers tested positive for the virus.
Ahead of the session, two ministers -- Kamal Rani Varun and Chetan Chauhan -- succumbed to COVID-19 infection in a span of two weeks.
Uttar Pradesh Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Atul Garg was hospitalised on Tuesday after he said he had tested positive for COVID-19.
Sixty-three-year-old Garg, an MLA from Ghaziabad, tweeted on Tuesday, "On August 15, RT-PCR test was done and I had tested negative. Yesterday (Monday), in the rapid test conducted at around 9 pm, I tested positive. People who came in contact with me from August 16 to August 18 should get themselves tested."
The Speaker said that COVID-19 testing centres would be established near the residences of the MLAs as they have to be tested in a single day.
Elaborating on the seating arrangements in the Assembly, Dixit said, "The MLAs will be seated leaving a seat (vacant) between them."
Arrangements have also been made for the legislators to sit in the ''Yes'' and ''No'' lobbies.
Each lobby can accommodate 30 legislators, according to Dixit.
A visitors' gallery has also been reserved this time for the MLAs to sit, he said, adding that the canteen would not be opened.
Dixit hoped that the Opposition members would not move into the well of the House and that they would abide by social distancing norms.
"They have assured us," he added.
The MLAs will be thermally scanned before they enter the House and they will surely come wearing a mask, the Speaker said.
"If they do not come wearing a mask, we will give them one," he said.
"I have requested former MLAs that they should not come to the Vidhan Bhawan during the session," the Speaker said.
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government issued an advisory for mediapersons, saying journalists coming to cover the session must have their COVID-19 test done.
Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday recorded its worst daily coronavirus fatality count of 77 which took the state's overall toll to 2,585.
The state had reported 1,62,434 coronavirus cases till Tuesday.
It has 50,242 cases of active infection, an official had said Tuesday.