More than 300 Parliament staffers tested positive for COVID between January 9 and 12.
“Till now, about 718 Parliament staffers have fallen prey to the virus. Of the total, 204 are from the Rajya Sabha secretariat while the remaining are from the Lok Sabha secretariat and allied services,” a source was quoted as saying in an IANS report. Till January 9, more than 400 employees had tested positive during random testing.
The new cases indicate a rise of nearly 75 per cent in cases reported from Parliament House Complex since January 9.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla inspected the complex on Tuesday to take stock of health safety-related measures in light of the surge in COVID cases in India. He visited the COVID testing facility set up in Parliament House Annexe for Members of Parliament, officers and staff of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Secretariats and reviewed the preparations there.
A Lok Sabha circular also directed officers visiting Parliament to maintain a staggered working schedule to avoid crowding. “The working hours of all employees who attend office may be staggered between 10 am to 10.30 am with corresponding office exit timings to avoid rush in commuting as also in lifts and corridors,” it said.
On Monday, concerned over the surge, Rajya Sabha Chairman and the Lok Sabha Speaker directed Secretaries-Generals of both Houses to suggest measures for safe conduct of the upcoming Budget session.
“Both the Rajya Sabha chairman and the Lok Sabha speaker have directed the secretary generals to review adequacy of the COVID protocol followed during the last Winter session in the current situation and submit a proposal in this regard at the earliest,” a source reportedly said.