Chandigarh: Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday (August 26) said 23 ministers and MLAs were coronavirus positive two days before the Vidhan Sabha session on August 28.

He gave the figure during a video conference convened by Congress President Sonia Gandhi with the chief ministers of seven Opposition-ruled states to discuss various issues.

The chief minister, however, did not disclose how many of Punjab MLAs and ministers have recovered so far. “As of today, two days before the scheduled Punjab Vidhan Sabha session, 23 Ministers/MLAs were Covid positive," said the CM in an official release.

As three more MLAs tested positive on August 26, Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rana KP Singh made the coronavirus negative test report mandatory for ministers, MLAs, officers and employees to attend the session.

With this, the CM tried to emphasise that the scenario was not conducive for holding physical examination for JEE-NEET.

“If this was the state of the legislators and ministers, one can only imagine how grave the situation on the ground was. The scenario was not conducive to holding physical examinations," he added referring to the fierce debate on the centre's move to allow all-India exams for engineering and medical courses.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced complete lockdown on September 7, 11 and 12. The state government also extended the existing partial lockdown, which ends on August 31, to September 20. The chief minister also announced a series of relaxations by allowing to resume flights operations from six COVID hotspot states but extended the closure of educational institutes till September 20.