Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankar, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Union minister Piyush Goyal were among Parliamentarians who were spotted wearing masks during winter session amid fresh Covid-19 scare.
Birla said that Covid cases are once again on the rise in certain countries. He added the government has taken quick steps and asked people to wear masks in crowded places and follow Covid-related protocols.
“We should be vigilant keeping in mind the past trends of the pandemic," he told the members. He also said masks have been made available for MPs at the entry points of the Lok Sabha chamber and they should all wear one.
The government on Wednesday advised people to get vaccinated and mask up. It also said that random sample testing will be conducted at airports for passengers arriving from China and other countries.
Besides MPs, masks were also distributed to journalists covering the Winter session of Parliament. The Lok Sabha secretariat has asked employees to wear masks and following distancing norms, sources said.
“We were asked to wear masks before entering the Lok Sabha chamber. We welcome this step. The Lok Sabha secretariat had made arrangements to ensure enough masks were available for members," said BJP MP Manoj Tiwari.
Former Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said he came wearing a mask and was happy to note that Birla too has urged members to mask up. “Even before the Speaker’s advice, members were wearing mask. It is a healthy sign and sends good signal to people that MPs have started wearing mask and they should also follow," he said.
This comes a day after Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya wrote to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, citing concerns raised by three BJP MPs over spread of coronavirus.
In a letter addressed to Gandhi and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday, Mandaviya said three MPs from Rajasthan — P P Chaudhary, Nihal Chand and Devji Patel — have flagged concerns and requested him that Covid protocols, including use of masks and sanitisers, be strictly followed during the march and only those who are vaccinated be allowed to participate.
The MPs have also requested the Union minister to ensure that participants are isolated before and after taking part in the march. The minister urged Gandhi and Gehlot to take prompt action keeping in view the requests made by the three MPs in Rajasthan.
Referring to the letter signed by the three MPs, Mandaviya said they have sought suspension of the yatra in national interest if adherence to Covid protocols cannot be ensured keeping in view concerns around public health.
(with inputs from PTI)
Read all the Latest Politics News here