ISLAMABAD - Since MNAs from different constituencies have recently contracted COVID-19, Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser ordered new seating arrangements in the NA following the principle of social distancing in order to minimize the spread of coronavirus.

Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser, in order to examine the seating arrangements in the hall, visited the premises with its staff to make suitable mechanisms in the ongoing session of the National Assembly. In this ongoing session, federal budget 2020-21 would also be presented. The Additional Secretary (legislation), during the Speaker’s visit told him that as per new seating arrangements, seats in the hall have been placed at a distance of two meters. He briefed that the visitor’s galleries would remain closed during the sittings of the Assembly with minimum presence of secretariat staff.

Regarding presence of media in Press Gallery, he was apprised that the same principle had been observed while making seating arrangement for media in the press gallery and cards would be issued as per SoPs jointly developed by National Assembly & Senate Secretariats, Ministry of Information and Parliamentary Reporters Association. It was informed that only staff tested negative for coronavirus would be deputed to perform duties in the Hall during the session.

The Speaker expressed his satisfaction with the new seating arrangement, however, directed for disinfection of Assembly Hall, chambers and offices on a daily basis. He also ordered for making it mandatory for all to wear face masks and follow health guidelines and SoPs in order to minimize the spread of the contagious disease. 

Recently two senior MPs including former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid were contracted COVID-19.

 

The Speaker also held a meeting with parliamentary leaders in the National Assembly to ensure health guidelines and SoPs are being followed in letter and spirit.

 

The Speaker has already cautioned that thirteen members of the House have tested positive for COVID-19 besides a significant number of staff members.