Pakistani parliament's speaker tests positive for COVID-19

Pakistani parliament
# 01 May 2020 12:32 (UTC +04:00)

The speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly said late on Thursday that he had tested positive for COVID-19, after hosting an iftar dinner to celebrate Ramadan, and meeting Prime Minister Imran Khan and other high officials earlier in the week, APA reports citing Reuters.

It is not immediately known if Khan will be tested, but he was checked in April, and tested negative, after meeting with the head of Pakistan’s biggest charity organisation, who was subsequently confirmed to have caught the disease.

Faisal Edhi had met Khan in the prime minister’s office.

The National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, is currently in recess, though opposition parties have been calling for it to convene to discuss the government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, where the number of cases has risen to 16,817, including 385 deaths.

The decision on whether to convene rested with Speaker of the Assembly, Asad Qaiser, who on Thursday night revealed he had tested positive in the capital, Islamabad.

“I have quarantined myself at home,” Qaiser, who is also a close aide to Khan, said on Twitter. Qaiser met with the prime minister on Monday, and has met several other leading figures during the past few days.

The speaker had hosted an Iftar, the evening meal to break fast during Ramadan, attended by politicians and dignitaries on Monday.