(Bloomberg) -- Dozens of Venezuelan lawmakers tested positive for Covid-19 Tuesday amid a wave of new infections in the country, delaying the start of a meeting of congress.

Forty-two members of the National Assembly tested positive for the disease on Tuesday ahead of a meeting of the legislative body, according to three members of congress. Another 20 were already out after testing positive last week, they said. 

The session, which was set to begin at 4pm local time, was still held as enough of the 277 members were present, but it was delayed while lawmakers awaited their test results. It is being held outdoors, according to members of congress and a live feed from Venezuela state television.

Among the least-vaccinated countries in South America -- with 41% of residents having received the full scheme of shots -- Venezuela has seen the positivity rate more than triple over the past two weeks to 18 cases per 100,000 residents. 

Latin America, one of the regions hardest hit by covid, is undergoing a wave of infections as the omicron variant spreads, which has affected governments. Peru’s health, foreign and finance ministers have recently tested positive for the disease caused by the coronavirus. 


©2022 Bloomberg L.P.