Colombo, January 11 (Daily Mirror) – Parliament is unlikely to convene next week after several MPs are believed to have come in contact with Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader and parliamentarian, Rauff Hakeem who tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday, the Daily Mirror learns.
Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena who was in Matara yesterday when he was informed of Hakeem testing positive, will urgently meet health officials in Colombo today, seeking their guidance on the procedures to be followed as Hakeem had attended Parliamentary sessions last week.
Parliamentary officials are scanning CCTV footage to identify who would be his first contacts, and till last evening atleast 15 MPs had been told to isolate.
Sources within the Parliament told Daily Mirror, that at least 30 MPs may be directed to self isolate this week for coming in contact with the SLMC Leader. However these numbers are yet to be officially confirmed.
Speaker Abeywardena will also seek the health officials guidance as to whether all parliamentarians will have to undergo PCR tests.
A formal decision will be made today.
Hakeem had sat with several MPs in Parliament last week even during his meals and all the areas of Parliament which he had visited, including the chamber, will be disinfected this week.
Hakeem is the second parliamentarian to test positive for the virus as last week State Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara also tested positive for the virus, leading to some MPs having to undergo PCR tests for coming in contact with him. However Dayasiri had not attended Parliamentary sessions since Parliament convened after the New Year.
Meanwhile, social media was rife yesterday as to whether Hakeem had met Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S.Jaishankar who was on a two-day official visit in Colombo last week. A spokesman from the Indian High Commission in Colombo, however, confirmed that the visiting minister had not met Hakeem. (Jamila Husain)