Parliament House sealed after 30 staffers test positive for COVID-19

ISLAMABAD: The government on Wednesday sealed the Parliament House after at least 30 of the two houses’ employees tested positive for coronavirus last week, with sources informing The News that the building would remain closed until Nov 9.

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has assumed the responsibility of disinfecting the building, while Senate Chairperson Sadiq Sanjrani, Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaisar, and several other officials self-isolated themselves due to possible exposure and were working from home.

Owing to the coronavirus emergency, the Senate and National Assembly also cancelled scheduled meetings and announced a new date.

Sources stated that even after reopening the Parliament House complex, all staffers would not be allowed to resume work. Instead, only a select few will turn up for duty.

As against the directives of the government for strictly implement the coronavirus standard operation procedures (SOPs), people blatantly violated the rules during different Senate and National Assembly sittings last week.

A monitoring system — comprising closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras — would now be installed in the Parliament House, while special staffers were to be deployed in the complex to ensure the strict implementation of the SOPs, sources added.

This is the second time that the Parliament House has been sealed after some staff members fell prey to the potentially deadly virus.

Earlier in March, when the country was undergoing the first wave of the pandemic, NA Speaker Asad Qaidar and his family had tested positive for the coronavirus; they recovered in less than a month.

Similarly, Senate Deputy Chariperson Saleem Mandviwala contracted the virus in September and regained his health within 15 days.

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