‘MPs with COVID-19 still attending Parliament’

The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu, has disclosed that some Members of Parliament (MPs) who have tested positive for COVID-19 were still attending sittings of the House.

He has subsequently threatened to publish the names of the MPs if they continued to attend business of the House.

Issuing the threat on the floor in Accra yesterday, Mr Osei-Owusu, who was sitting in for the Speaker, Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, said the development put all MPs and staff of Parliament at risk of contracting the respiratory disease.

Mr Osei-Owusu, who is also New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Bekwai, said “Mr Speaker wishes to inform you that if those members do not withdraw from attending sittings of the House, and isolate, he would be forced to publish your names in order to warn the rest of us.

“Please, let us take the protocol seriously and let all members who have been informed of their test results and have tested positive withdraw from the precincts of Parliament and not only the chamber.

“Stay home, self isolate, go through the protocols and recover before you return to the House”.

According to Mr Osei-Owusu, over 50 MPs were yet to take their tests despite a constant reminder that they should take the test.

This, he said, did not bode well for the image of the House, considering the fact that testing had been opened for over two weeks.

The Leader of the Majority Group, and NPP MP for Suame, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, cautioned that legislators, who have not subjected themselves to the COVID-19 test, would not be allowed into the House.

“From next week, members, who have not submitted themselves to the test would not be permitted into the chamber,” he emphasised.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu urged staff of the Parliamentary Service and the 52 MPs who were yet to take their test and journalists who operate at Parliament to undertake the COVID-19 test “to continue to enjoy the right of access to the precincts of Parliament.”

The Minority Chief Whip of Parliament and National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Asawase, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, said the current situation where results of COVID-19 test was given to those who test positive did not auger well for the fight against the pandemic.

As part of measures to control the spread of COVID-19 in the House, the House has limited the number of MPs who could be present at a particular sitting to a third of the 275 lawmakers.

Ghana’s COVID-19 case count is on the increase since the turn of the year as the second wave continues to wreck a different dimension of havoc on the country.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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