NEW DELHI: Around 30 MPs, including BJP's Meenakshi Lekhi and Pravesh Verma, and over 50 employees of Parliament have tested positive for COVID-19 so far, sources said on Monday.
Many of them tested positive after undergoing compulsory coronavirus tests at the parliament premises before the start of the monsoon session, while several of them had undergone tests in their respective constituencies.
All parliamentarians and staff of the secretariats of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha had undergone mandatory COVID-19 tests before the start of the session.
Mediapersons covering the parliament's proceedings also underwent these tests and at least one of them has tested positive, the sources said.
"ICMR is honoured to have carried out testing of 2500+ samples of Hon'ble Members of Parliament and other officials on war footing over the weekend in service of the nation", the Indian Council of Medical Research said on Twitter.
As per the details available with parliament authorities, around 30 MPs and over 50 employees of the secretariats tested positive for coronavirus.
All those who have tested positive have been asked to stay in quarantine and they did not come to Parliament, sources said.
The monsoon session, which began on Monday, is being held in two different shifts -- Rajya Sabha will sit in the mornings and Lok Sabha in the second half of the day.
Some of these MPs went public with their test reports through Twitter including BJP MPs Meenakshi Lekhi, Suresh Angadi, Ram Shankar Katheria, Pravesh Varma "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," Lekhi tweeted.
RLP MP Hanuman Beniwal, who also tested positive, questioned the COVID-19 test conducted in the parliament premises saying he tested negative in Jaipur around the same time.
"I underwent a COVID-19 test in parliament premises and was declared positive. Then I was tested at a hospital in Jaipur and the report said I am negative. Which report should be considered accurate?" Beniwal tweeted in Hindi.
Meanwhile, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said wider arrangements have been made to ensure the safety of MPs and all others in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Confident of smooth functioning of the monsoon session, Birla said as many as 359 MPs were present on the first day and he was hopeful that the session will complete its tenure.