The French National Assembly, which had been closed down for disinfection after several lawmakers and staff fell ill with COVID-19, resumed sessions on Thursday with restricted numbers.
However, 21 out of the 577 assembly’s deputies appeared to be in the chamber as questions to the government were heard, with only four ministers present to respond.
The assembly has decided that a maximum of three deputies will attend on behalf of each of the eight party groups, with group leaders empowered to vote on behalf of all their members.
There will also be one non-party member, to represent non-aligned groups.
Assembly President, Richard Ferrand, paid tribute to the country’s health care workers and all those continuing to work in the face of the virus, which has infected 9,130 people, of whom 264 died.
Ferrand said that the assembly was meeting with the two-fold duty of scrupulously respecting the instructions of the scientific and health authorities and of making our democracy live.
Conservative group leader, Damien Abad, in the first question of the session, noted that the country’s health care system was short of face masks, intensive care beds and drugs.
He, however, called for a daily briefing about logistics and supplies to complement the daily briefing given by health authorities about the epidemic.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, however, defended government’s response, adding that the supply of face masks had risen to more than 100 million after stocks were requisitioned, in spite some thefts and black market profiteering.