Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said that he has tested positive for coronavirus COVID-19, adding that he has isolated himself. The Minister of Road Transport and Highways has requested everyone who has come in his contact to follow required protocols.
Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Gadkari stated that he was feeling weak on September 15 and consulted a doctor. During the check-up, he tested positive. He added that currently, he is doing well.
Yesterday, I was feeling weak and consulted my Doctor. During the course of my check up, I have been tested COVID 19 positive. I am at present doing well with the blessings and good wishes of all. I have isolated myself.
— Nitin Gadkari (@nitin_gadkari) September 16, 2020
"Yesterday, I was feeling weak and consulted my Doctor. During the course of my check up, I have been tested COVID 19 positive. I am at present doing well with the blessings and good wishes of all. I have isolated myself. I request everyone who has come in my contact to be careful and follow the protocol. Stay safe," he tweeted.
Gadkari's ministerial colleagues Amit Shah, Shripad Naik, Dharmendra Pradhan, Kailash Choudhary, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Gajendra Shekhawat and Suresh Angadi were also diagnosed with COVID-19 recently.
Prominent politicians who tested COVID-19 positive recently include Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, and Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit. Maharashtra ministers Ashok Chavan and Dhananjay Munde had also tested positive.
On September 14, as the monsoon session of Parliament began, a total of 23 MPs tested positive for the COVID-19. The monsoon session is scheduled from September 14 to October 1. Six Rajya Sabha MPs tested coronavirus positive including two MPs each from the BJP and Congress and one each from RJD and TMC, according to sources.
At least 17 Lok Sabha MPs tested positive for COVID-19 including Meenakshi Lekhi, Anant Kumar Hegde and Parvesh Sahib Singh, added the sources. Other MPs who have been found COVID-19 positive are Sukhbir Singh, Hanuman Beniwal, Sukanata Majumdar, Goddeti Madhavi, Pratap Rao Jadav, Janardan Singh, Bidyut Baran, Pradan Baruah, N Reddeppa, Selvam G, Pratap Rao Patil, Ram Shankar Katheria, Satya Pal Singh and Rodmal Nagar. The BJP has a maximum number--12, the YRS Congress has two MPs, the Shiv Sena, DMK and RLP one each.
Hectic preparations were underway for the Monsoon Session with several first-time measures taken because of the coronavirus pandemic. These new measures include testing of MPs, staggered seating arrangements in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, and the use of both chambers and galleries to accommodate the members.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had said that 257 members will be seated in the Lok Sabha hall, 172 in Lok Sabha gallery, 60 in Rajya Sabha and 51 in the Rajya Sabha gallery due to the COVID-19 crisis. He had said attempts were made to minimise the use of paper and MPs will mark their attendance digitally. Screen LEDs will be put up to conduct the proceedings smoothly.
Chambers will be sanitised and the MPS will have to undergo the RT-PCR test for COVID-19 before the session begins, the Lok Sabha Speaker had said.
Amid the Opposition's demand for the election of the Deputy Speaker, the Lok Sabha Speaker had said the house and the government have to take a call on it. Birla had said holding the monsoon session this year was a challenge because of the COVID-19 pandemic but it will be "historic".
"Holding the monsoon session was a challenge during the pandemic but we have to fulfil our constitutional responsibilities. We want Parliament to become more accountable and answerable to people," Birla had said at a press conference. "This session will be a historic session as it is being held in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our effort is to conduct the session as per the guidelines issued in the wake of the pandemic," he had added.
Birla had said the Zero Hour will be of half-an-hour duration and there will no Question Hour but written questions could be asked and they will have to be answered. When asked about opposition leaders asking about the Deputy Speaker election, Birla had said he doesn't have to elect, and it is for the house and the government to decide.