As many as 23 members of the Punjab Assembly have tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the one day session of the House scheduled for Friday.

Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said that 23 of the 117 MLAs in Punjab have tested positive for Covid-19 in the ongoing drive of the government to test all MLAs ahead of the one-day Assembly session on 28 August.

Participating in the videoconference of the seven non-NDA chief ministers with Congress president Sonia Gandhi , Capt Amarinder said that all MLAs have been asked to bring their Covid-negative report before entering the Assembly to attend the session. Official sources in the Punjab Assembly, however, said there was no confirmation of 23 MLAs testing positive. Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana KP Singh said legislators getting themselves tested at the district level or at Chandigarh ahead of the session and the total number of members found positive will be available by Thursday evening.

“We are not going to bar if a MLA or minister had tested positive earlier. We will only go by the fresh reports of the tests being held between 25 August and 27 August. Some of the MLAs and a minister who had tested positive earlier may be fit to attend the session as they have tested negative now,” a senior Assembly official told The Statesman.

Unconfirmed reports said while three Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs), who have tested positive for coronavirus, are from the main Opposition party Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), six of such MLAs are affiliated to the Shiromani Akali Dal.

The remaining 14 MLAs, who have tested positive in the tests conducted ahead of the session, are members of the ruling Congress. While three Cabinet ministers had tested positive earlier, one minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa has recovered from the infection and tested negative today.

Most AAP and SAD MLAs might not attend the Assembly session as those legislators from their parties, who tested positive on Wednesday, had attended their respective legislature party meetings yesterday.

As the MLAs who tested negative had come in contact with those who have tested positive, they will be required to undergo five-day self-quarantine as per the protocol of the health department.

A senior Assembly official said in this case, MLAs will be required to follow the health department’s directive and the Assembly will not play a role in it.

Sources said in this case, while none of the SAD MLAs will be able to attend the House, only two MLAs of the AAP, who could not attend the meeting yesterday, may attend the session.