Parliament meets today after health authorities give green light

Tuesday, 19 January 2021 01:51 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • House to meet for 2 days instead of scheduled 4 days
  • Health authorities say no imminent COVID-19 threat to Parliament but urge strict compliance with health guidelines
  • State Minister Piyal Nishantha tests positive for COVID-19
  • 4 MPs, 9 staff members have tested positive so far  

By Chandani Kirinde 

Parliament will meet for two days this week after health authorities gave the green light to go ahead with sittings, with strict adherence to health guidelines. Party leaders who met yesterday decided to meet on two days, down from the scheduled four days, after nine staffers at the Parliamentary Complex tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.

State Minister of Women and Child Development, Preschools and Primary Education, School Infrastructure and Education Service Piyal Nishantha De Silva tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday, making him the fourth MP to have contracted the coronavirus so far. The other MPs who have tested positive for COVID-19 are Dayasiri Jayasekera, Rauff Hakeem and Vasudeva Nanayakkara.

PCR tests were carried out on 911 employees and 39 MPs at the Parliament Complex in the past three days. Yesterday tests were conducted on two MPs and 62 staffers. Their test results are due today.

Several doctors from the Office of the Director General of Health Services attended the meeting of the Committee on Parliamentary Business yesterday where they were consulted on how to proceed with Parliament proceedings with the risk of COVID-19.

They advised that there was no imminent danger of a COVID-19 outbreak in Parliament and hence sittings could go ahead in strict compliance with all health regulations, Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake said.

Parliament, which will meet today and tomorrow, will take up six orders under the Special Commodity Levy Act and a resolution under the Customs Ordinance for debate today while an adjournment debate by JVP Leader MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake will be taken up for debate on Wednesday.

Yesterday’s party leaders’ meeting was attended by Leader  of the House Dinesh Gunawardena, Chief Government Whip Johnston Fernando, Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella, Ministers Chamal Rajapaksa, G.L. Peiris, Dullas Alahapperuma, and Douglas Devananda and MPs Mahinda Samarasinghe, Dilan Perera, Rishad Bathiudeen, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Mano Ganesan, and M.A. Sumanthiran.