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Spain suspends parliament for at least 1 week after lawmaker tests positive for coronavirus

Spain suspends parliament for at least 1 week after lawmaker tests positive for coronavirus
The lower house of the Spanish Parliament has announced it will suspend all activities for one week after a deputy with the right-wing Vox party tested positive for coronavirus infection.

Lawmaker Javier Ortega Smith, head of the Vox party, has been diagnosed with the virus and the parliament has been suspended for at least a week as a precaution, as the Vox party holds 52 parliamentary seats and represents the third-largest bloc in the congress. 

The decision to suspend parliament was taken after the Vox party members confirmed they would self-isolate after suspected exposure to the virus at a recent rally last weekend. 

The Ministry of Health will continue operations as normal to keep the general population informed about the coronavirus situation, President of the Spanish Congress Meritxell Batet confirmed during a press briefing. 

In the interim, lawmakers will discuss how to maintain the normal operations of government upon their return to Congress. 

Meanwhile, Spanish authorities confirmed a total of 1,622 cases of coronavirus infection in the country with the death toll currently standing at 35. 

As an additional precaution to stem the tide of infection, the Spanish government ordered the cancellation of all flights to and from Italy for a period of two weeks from March 11 at midnight.

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