First parliament session of 2021 begins

The 11th session of the 11th parliament has begun amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The session, presided over by Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, started at 4:30 pm on Monday.

President Abdul Hamid spoke in the beginning of the session. The lawmakers began discussing the thanksgiving motion on his speech later.

The length of the session may be reduced to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, said Whip Iqbalur Rahim.

Usually the opening session of a year lasts for a month. But this time it may have 12 to 14 working days considering the risk of coronavirus infection, said Whip Iqbalur Rahim.

The Business Advisory Committee, which sets the length of a session, has not sat before the five last sessions due to the outbreak.

The parliament remembered those, including actors Aly Zaker and Soumitra Chatterjee, freedom fighter Ayesha Khanam and awards-winning writer Rabeya Khatun and many others, whom Bangladesh lost to the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

Like four other sessions in the pandemic, a limited number of MPs who had received COVID-19 negative certificates took part in this one upon adhering to the health protocols issued by the government to stem the coronavirus pandemic.

Maximum 90 people are allowed to join the parliament sessions now.The entry of parliament’s staff has also been restricted during the session.

People with COVID-19 negative certificates who have been working at the parliament were allowed to enter the building.

Reporters also need a COVID-19 negative certificate to cover the session. The authorities had conducted COVID-19 test for one reporter from every media outlet in Bangladesh. They urged media workers to cover the session by watching live broadcasts on television.