NEW DELHI: MPs will be asked to get themselves tested for COVID-19 at least 72 hours before the start of the Monsoon Session of Parliament, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said on Friday.
Besides MPs, parliament staff and media personnel, among other entrants to the building, will also be required to undergo the test for the coronavirus.
Visitors will not be allowed during the session which will be held as per the guidelines, including those on social distancing, issued by the health ministry in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Monsoon Session is likely to start from September 14 and conclude on October 1.
To finalise the arrangements for the upcoming session of Parliament Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Friday chaired a meeting of officials from the health ministry, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Delhi government and Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats.
"Comprehensive arrangements have been made in the Parliament building for the upcoming session in wake of the pandemic and MPs will be requested to get tested for coronavirus at least 72 hours before the start of the session," Birla said after the meeting.
Besides MPs, all those who are expected to enter the Parliament premises, including officials from ministries, representatives from the media and staff of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats, will also be get tested for the coronavirus before the start of the session, Birla said.
The speaker, who is custodian of the Parliament building, made this announcement after a long meeting with the health secretary, ICMR director general, AIIMS director and officials from the DRDO and the Delhi government.
Birla said arrangements have also been made for zero-touch security checks during the session and if required, random tests for COVID-19 can be conducted during the session.
Sources said the Monsoon Session is likely to be held in two shifts -- morning and evening -- with each House using both chambers for their seating to ensure social distancing.Due to the pandemic, this will be in a way a first-of-its-kind session with various modifications, including no visitors being allowed.