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Fresh Covid-19 Restrictions Take Effect In Parliament After 400 Members Test Positive

Over 400 staff members working in Parliament premises and allied services were found COVID-19 positive.

New Delhi: Police stand guard near the Parliament House during COVID-19 weekend curfew in New Delhi, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. More than 400 Parliament staff tested positive for the COVID-19, weeks ahead of the Union Budget session. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)

New Delhi: Ahead of Assembly polls in five states, the Parliament as per the latest directions has ordered work-from-home to more than half of its staff.

As per the restrictions, 50 per cent of officials and Parliament’s staff below the rank of Under Secretary or Executive officer are ordered to work from home till the end of this month.

The staff members with disabilities or who are pregnant are fully exempted from attending the office. These constitute about 65 per cent of total employees on the premises.

The new curbs were triggered after more than 400 staffers working in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha tested COVID-19 positive in the past few days.

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Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu reviewed the situation and directed that necessary measures be taken to contain the spread of the virus among the secretariat officials and staffers ahead of the Budget session.

New Delhi: Parliament House during COVID-19 induced weekend curfew in New Delhi, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2021. More than 400 Parliament staff tested positive for the COVID-19, weeks ahead of the Union Budget session. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)

The starting and closing timings of the Secretariat were also kept staggered to avoid crowding. The new directive has ordered that all official meetings will be held virtually.

All officials and Staff members will be tested for Coronavirus and recovery of the infected shall be closely monitored and assisted through hospitalisation and medical treatment, if needed.

The next review of the Covid-19 situation in Parliament will be held at the end of the week.

New Delhi: Police stand guard near the Parliament House during COVID-19 weekend curfew in New Delhi, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2021. More than 400 Parliament staff tested positive for the COVID-19, weeks ahead of the Union Budget session. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)

In a recent circular, the Lok Sabha Secretariat said 50 per cent of officers below the level of under secretary will attend office by rotation as decided by their respective directors. The working hour of all employees who attend office on a particular day has been staggered between 10 am and 10:30 am with corresponding office exit timings to avoid rush in commuting as also in lifts and corridors.

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As many as 402 staffers working with Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats and allied services have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last few days, triggering a move to impose restrictions on employees’ attendance.

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According to PTI sources, 65 staffers of Rajya Sabha Secretariat, 200 of Lok Sabha Secretariat and 133 of allied services have tested positive for COVID-19 between January 4-8 during regular tests.

The development comes days before the Budget session of Parliament, which usually begins at the end of January. After the surge in cases among employees, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat has reimposed restrictions on attendance of officials and staffers.

(With inputs from PTI)

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