Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan tweeted on Tuesday (March 17) that he has tested negative for the coronavirus that has currently claimed three lives in India.
He had earlier opted for self-quarantine as a preventive measure after he visited the research division of Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology in Thiruvananthapuram, where he came in contact with a doctor who later tested positive for COVID-19.
BJP MPs said he had not been attending Parliament sessions and was staying at his residence. “Since going to the Parliament involves interaction with a large number of people, Muraleedharan wanted to avoid such a situation until he gets a confirmation that he is not infected,” they said.
“Last Saturday I had visited Research Div. of a Medical Institute, whose Hospital later reported a #COVID19 +ve case. As a measure of abundant precaution I am in home quarantine since then,” he tweeted.
He added that he tested negative for coronavirus.
Last Saturday I had visited Research Div. of a Medical Institute, whose Hospital later reported a #COVID19 +ve case. As a measure of abundant precaution I am in home quarantine since then.
Have tested negative for #COVID19.
No to panic! Yes to precaution!#IndiaFightsCorona
— V. Muraleedharan (@MOS_MEA) March 17, 2020
Muraleedharan is the first Indian minister to choose self-quarantine amid fears over the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, other ministers have demanded an early end to the Budget Session of the Parliament, which is scheduled to end on April 3, due to fears that these sessions might help with the spread of the virus.
However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that the Parliament should continue to function now to help people of the country fight coronavirus.
Addressing BJP MPs, he said the need of the hour is to protect people of the country from the spread of COVID-19.
Permission for visitors to witness parliamentary proceedings has been curbed for the time being. Deployment of medical staff on the premises and temperature checks are some of the other precautionary measures being carried out at the Parliament.