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Parliament Further Eases Covid-19 Measures But Mps Still Required To Take ART Before Attending Sittings
Ili Nadhirah Mansor | TODAY
October 3rd, 2022 | 14:37 PM | 332 views
SINGAPORE — Parliament on Monday (Oct 3) further eased its Covid-19 safety management measures for parliamentary sittings, but still requires its members to self-administer antigen rapid tests (ART) before attending a session in person.
Announcing the latest set of measures at the start of Monday's parliamentary sitting, Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin said that the House is taking “yet another step forward” as Singapore became more vigilant against the pandemic.
Attending Members of Parliament (MPs) will now be seated without the need for a split arrangement, following a revised seating plan put up on the Parliament's website.
MPs had previously sat with one empty seat in between each other, with some members spilling over to the public gallery on a different floor.
“This also means that all members can now take their breaks together in one room,” said Mr Tan.
However, he added that a certain level of vigilance will still be maintained.
MPs will still be required to do an ART self-test before entering the chamber, while those who are a close contact of Covid-19 cases but themselves have been tested negative, will be seated in the Speaker's Gallery within the Chamber instead.
Most MPs attending Monday's sitting were not wearing masks and no longer wiped down the rostrum and microphones after they finished speaking, which was an infection control measure that they had previously practiced.
Mr Tan thanked members of the House for their forbearance and diligence in adhering to infection control measures since early 2020.
“Your efforts have allowed us to carry on with our duties as parliamentarians during a critical time for Singapore and have also facilitated our quick return to business as usual,” he said.
Mr Tan added that further adjustments will be made according to the prevailing Covid-19 situation.
PAST COVID-19 MEASURES IN PARLIAMENT HOUSE
Parliament first imposed stricter Covid-19 measures on March 25, 2020, when the outbreak first began. MPs had to leave at least one empty seat between them, while some were seated in the galleries on the other levels of the Chamber.
MPs also had to don face masks at all times within the Parliament building, except while making speeches or asking questions.
In early 2022, an increasing number of MPs became absent from parliamentary sittings as they tested positive for the coronavirus or were likely to be exposed to infected persons.
On March 7 this year, Parliament then implemented a new rule to seat MPs in the Speaker's Gallery whenever they found to be in close contact with Covid-19 cases but tested negative themselves.
A month later in April, all MPs sat together in Parliament's main chamber for the first time in two years as eased Covid-19 restrictions took effect in Singapore, though they were still split into two groups and took their breaks in separate areas.
courtesy of TODAY
by TAUFIQ ZALIZAN
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