ANKARA

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed Australia to hold a virtual sitting of the federal parliament, local media reported on Thursday.

The 227-member parliament will see online session for lawmakers unable to make it to the Parliament House in Canberra due to border restrictions and strict quarantine rules, said daily Sydney Morning Herald.

Ruling Liberal and opposition Labor parties have agreed to the deal for lawmakers to join parliament from Aug. 24 for two weeks via a video link “but only if they use a secure network from their electorate offices.”

Arrangements have been made for them to give speeches and take part in question time via secure video link. However they will not be able to vote, and their numbers won’t count towards a presence in the chamber.

“The gradual introduction of this technology will occur over the next fortnight to ensure a staged and tested implementation,” said Leader of the House Christian Porter.

The Senate is expected to agree to similar rules for senators.

Australia reported 246 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, most of them in Victoria, whose capital Melbourne has been in lockdown for over a month. Thirteen more patients lost their battle against the deadly disease.

It has confirmed 24,236 virus cases, including 17,661 recoveries and 463 deaths, thus far.

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