Colombian Congress to meet virtually after nine lawmakers get virus

El Congreso colombiano antes de adaptar nuevas medidas. Foto: Guillermo

HAVANA TIMES – Colombia’s Congress is expected to inaugurate its new legislative session virtually after at least nine of its members were diagnosed with coronavirus, reported dpa news.

The inauguration on July 20 would normally require senators and representatives to attend a plenary session.

The Constitutional Court last week overturned a presidential decree from late March that had authorized Congress to work remotely.

But legal experts then said that Congress could continue holding virtual meetings on the basis of legislation separate from the presidential decree.

The inauguration of the legislative session will be staged virtually for the first time, including the speech of President Ivan Duque, television and newspaper reports said late Tuesday and Wednesday.

The two-part legislative period of Congress, which comprises a 108-member Senate and a 172-member Chamber of Representatives, runs for 11 months from July 20 to June 20. In addition, Congress has been holding extra sessions during the pandemic.

The South American country, which is under quarantine until August 1, has confirmed 159,898 novel coronavirus infections and 5,625 deaths.

Duque on Wednesday announced the postponement of a VAT-free shopping day scheduled for Sunday after an increase in infections brought many intensive care units to saturation or close to it.