Kathmandu, May 7 A total of 441 lawmakers and employees of the Parliament Secretariat underwent polymerase chain reaction test for coronavirus today on the eve of the budget session of the Parliament. They included 179 lawmakers from the House of Representatives and 33 from the National Assembly.

Lawmakers inspect the House of Representatives, a day before the new session of the federal parliament, on the 45th day of government-imposed lockdown, amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus disease, in Kathmandu, on Thursday, May 07, 2020. Photo: Skanda Gautam/THT
Lawmakers inspect the House of Representatives, a day before the new session of the federal parliament, on the 45th day of government-imposed lockdown, amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus disease, in Kathmandu, on Thursday, May 07, 2020. Photo: Skanda Gautam/THT
Apart from lawmakers, 229 people whose nasal and throat swabs were collected today included employees of the Parliament Secretariat and marshals, according to Spokesperson for the Parliament Secretariat Dasharath Dhamala. Prominent among those who were tested for COVID-19 included Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba. Dhamala said the Parliament Secretariat would collect nasal and throat swabs of the remaining lawmakers, employees of the Parliament Secretariat and security personnel between 8:00am and 10:00am tomorrow. He said results of tests were expected tomorrow before 4:00pm when the budget session was slated to begin. The government will have to present the new fiscal budget on May 28. The Parliament Secretariat has adopted all precautionary measures against COVID-19 pandemic — a gap of at least two chairs between two lawmakers, sanitisation of upper and lower houses and other chambers in the Parliament building and screening of lawmakers for COVID-19. Microphones will be sanitised every time lawmakers use them. Dhamala said the Parliament Secretariat had followed all the suggestions made by experts to stem the threat of COVID-19. A team of experts has suggested that lawmakers follow the rules of isolation at their homes during the budget session.
A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 8, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.