Seven MPs test positive for Covid-19, including Indranee Rajah, Sylvia Lim

Ms Indranee Rajah (left) tested positive on Thursday, March 3, 2022, while Ms Sylvia Lim followed suit a day after. PHOTO: GOV.SG

SINGAPORE - Seven MPs have come down with Covid-19 and had to skip the ongoing debate in Parliament on the Government's Budget and that of its ministries.

They include Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Indranee Rajah, who also had to miss the launch of the Sakura floral display at Gardens by the Bay on Friday (March 4) morning due to her infection.

She said in a Facebook post on Friday: "Thankfully symptoms are mild. Very glad that I am fully vaccinated with both shots and booster."

Ms Indranee, who is also Second Minister for Finance and for National Development, took an antigen rapid test (ART) on Thursday afternoon as two other members of her household had Covid-19, and tested positive.

"Hope to be back in Parliament next week for the second readings of the Supply Bills," she added.

Workers' Party (WP) chairman Sylvia Lim posted a photo of her positive ART on Friday, after self-isolating for several days.

"After several days of feeling lousy, it's confirmed - I have it!" the Aljunied GRC MP wrote, adding that she was sorry to miss several days of the debate but would follow the live broadcast of proceedings on YouTube.

The MPs' infections come amid a surge in Covid-19 cases here, fuelled by the Omicron variant.

Nee Soon GRC MP Carrie Tan, Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC MP Alex Yam and Tampines GRC MP Cheng Li Hui and Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Gan Thiam Poh have also tested positive.

Mr Gan said in a Facebook post on Sunday that he was self-isolating at home to recover from throat tightness after testing positive.

He told The Straits Times on Friday that he has taken his booster shot and did not have serious symptoms.

He added: "It's regrettable that I'm unable to participate physically (in the Budget debate), but at least I was able to submit my speech. I appreciate that the ministers have taken note of my speeches and assured me they will address it."

On Tuesday, Ms Cheng posted on Facebook: "Omicron isn't that mild. I don't remember having such chills or dizziness."

Mr Yam said the "C-monster" has kept him away from the debate, but added that he has been able to tune into the proceedings. He also wished other MPs down with Covid-19 a prompt recovery.

Minister of State for Trade and Industry, and Culture, Community and Youth Alvin Tan said on Tuesday that he tested positive for Covid-19 after his seven-year-old daughter caught the virus.

Besides Ms Lim, two other WP MPs were absent from Parliament during the week - Sengkang GRC MPs Louis Chua and He Ting Ru. Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh said they were isolating due to exposure to Covid-19. Mr Chua rejoined the debate in Parliament on Friday.

In response to queries about what plans are in place should a Covid-19 cluster emerge in the House, the Office of the Clerk of Parliament said safe management measures and precautions have been put in place so that parliamentary proceedings can continue.

These measures include being masked at all times when not speaking in the Chamber, maintaining safe distancing and keeping to split team arrangements, as well as strictly adhering to the appropriate testing regimes, it said.

MPs are spread out across the Chamber and also in the Speakers' Gallery and Press Gallery.

The Office added that MPs have to self-test before coming to Parliament House to attend sittings.

Other MPs had been infected with the virus previously - Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, Minister of State for National Development Tan Kiat How and Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Eric Chua.

  • Additional reporting by Justin Ong

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