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Winter Session: Covid-19 Test Of MLAs, Staffers Of Odisha Assembly From Today

Bhubaneswar: As part of special arrangements made ahead of the commencement of the winter session of Odisha Assembly from November 20, all legislators, their PSOs, drivers and staff members of Assembly will undergo a mandatory Covid-19 test from today.

As per the State Health department, RT-PCR tests would be conducted twice for the Assembly winter session. The first phase of Covid test would begin today and will continue till November 19, while the second phase of tests will be done sometime between the 40-day session, the dates of which will be announced later.

A special counter has been set up on the Assembly premises for collection of samples of the lawmakers, officials, and journalists covering the proceedings, and only those whose results come out negative would be allowed to participate in the proceedings.

All the COVID-19 protocols followed during the monsoon session of the Assembly will be in place this time as well, and the House will function in strict adherence to the guidelines of the health department.

“The decision of the second phase COVID-19 testing rests on the Speaker. If a person shows any symptoms, s/he will be allowed to immediately go for an antigen test,” said Speaker SN Patro.

Senior officials informed that masks, sanitizers will be provided to all those who will enter the House including journalists. Special provisions have been made for discussion through video-conferencing. However, no decision has been taken on the question-hour during the winter session.

“The Assembly building will be sanitized every day during the session. Proceedings will continue on Saturdays and Sundays, while an option for the elderly MLAs to participate in it through video conference will also be given, Patro had said.

The winter session will conclude on December 31.

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