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CHANDIGARH : Haryana Assembly Speaker Gian Chand Gupta and two BJP MLAs tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, two days before the monsoon session is set to begin here, Health Minister Anil Vij said. Six assembly staffers have also tested positive for the disease, officials said.

"The assembly speaker and MLAs Aseem Goel and Ram Kumar have tested positive for coronavirus," Vij, who is also the state's home minister, told PTI.

Gupta represents the Panchkula seat, while Goel and Kumar are legislators from Ambala City and Indri, respectively. 

In the speaker's absence, Deputy Speaker Ranbir Gangwa will be presiding over the House proceedings.

Earlier in the day, Gupta tweeted that he got himself tested for COVID-19 on Sunday and his report came positive.

He said he was feeling okay and had isolated himself at his home on the advice of doctors.

The speaker requested all those who had come in his contact during the past few days to isolate and get themselves examined.

On the health minister's suggestion last week, the speaker had made it mandatory for anyone entering the Haryana Vidhan Sabha complex for the monsoon session, starting Wednesday, to show a COVID-19 negative certificate.

All MLAs, the speaker, chief minister, deputy chief minister, ministers, Vidhan Sabha staff and other officials had to get their COVID-19 tests conducted and show the report, not older than three days, before the start of the session. 

Earlier, Vij had directed all chief medical officers in all the 22 districts of the state to take samples of any MLA wanting to get himself/herself tested. A special camp has also been set up in Chandigarh where Vidhan Sabha and state government officials, media persons and legislators could give their samples.

The seating arrangement in the 90-member House will also be changed to ensure social distancing, officials said.

Last week, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar tested negative for COVID-19, days after he had attended a meeting with Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who has been found infected with the contagious disease.

However, Khattar had on Thursday decided to go into home quarantine for three days as a precautionary measure.

BJP MPs from Hisar and Kurukshetra, Brijendra Singh and Nayab Singh Saini, and party legislator from Thanesar Subhash Sudha had also tested positive for coronavirus earlier.

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