Burma

With COVID-19 Tests and Quarantines for MPs, Yangon Parliament Back to Session Soon

By San Yamin Aung 25 May 2020

YANGON — Yangon regional lawmakers will be tested for coronavirus and required to attend the next parliamentary session – that is due to discuss budget proposals – from hotel quarantine.

The lawmakers said they will receive COVID-19 tests before the parliament resumes on June 2.

They will go travel between the parliament and hotel during the session.

U Aung Htoo, a National League for Democracy lawmaker for Botahtaung Township, said MPs will be quarantined from May 29 at a hotel and required to remain there through the session, which is expected to last a week.

U Nay Phone Latt, an NLD lawmaker for Thingangyun Township, said it is still unknown whether the regional ministers will also be included in the hotel quarantine.

“We will follow all preventive guidelines required. But if we stay at a hotel to prevent carrying the virus and infecting others at the parliament, the ministers should do the same. If they are not included and go elsewhere and are still attending the parliament, it will make no difference,” he said.

Some regional ministers have been widely criticized for attending mass gatherings without observing social distancing.

The Irrawaddy contacted the regional parliament speaker who declined to provide details of the arrangements.

After months of recess, the parliament is resuming to discuss departmental budgets for the next fiscal year. It may also appoint a new regional planning and finance minister to replace U Myint Thaung, who died of lung cancer in April.

The Yangon regional government’s spending proposals often attract intense criticism from lawmakers for neglecting public needs and for including controversial expenses. Budgetary proposals have sparked heated debates at the parliament in previous years.

Union-level lawmakers were tested for COVID-19 before attending their parliamentary session which is discussing the Union budget and financing for the government’s COVID-19 relief and response plans.

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