The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu, says Parliament has put in place adequate measures to keep parliamentarians safe from COVID-19.
Ranking Member on Parliament’s Health Committee, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh in an interview on Thursday called for the House to sit in batches or convene intermittently only when there are critical issues in the House to protect Members of Parliament (MP).
He also kicked against the recall of the House without the necessary nuances to protect members against the virus.
But speaking to Citi News, Mr. Osei Owusu who is also the MP for Bekwai said Parliament has the situation under the control.
“So far we have taken steps to ensure that, it is impracticable for one to infect the other. Parliament has provided face masks for every member and staff. We have provided hand sanitizers and other hand washing equipment at all entrances of Parliament. Even all members are not in the chamber at the same time. It doesn’t even happen. Some are at committee meetings, others are doing parliamentary works elsewhere out of the chamber. So the kind of congestion is totally not present.”
Parliament is scheduled to resume sittings for the second meeting for this session on May 19, 2020, in spite of a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases recorded in the country.
The House adjourned sittings on May 1, 2020, after a series of emergency meetings necessitated by the pandemic.
Mintah Akandoh calls for mass testing of MPs
But, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, says “every Member of Parliament should have been tested” for the novel coronavirus by now.
Akandoh said this in disagreement with the recall of Members of Parliament in the wake of the surge in COVID-19 cases in Ghana.
Speaking to Citi News, the Juaboso MP said the MPs needed a lot of measures to be put in place because “we are also potential carriers of the virus.”
“If you say we should not gather more than 25 and 275 of us gather in the same chamber without ensuring social distancing, the government’s posture will not be seen as we are serious unless there are pragmatic measures put in place to ensure social distancing.”
Mr. Akandoh also suggested that “either they call us to come and deal with specific issues and then we go back.”
“We travel more than anybody in this country. It should not be as though we are superhuman beings. I think if indeed we are going to be called to do a specific business, I do not have a problem. But sitting as though there is nothing at stake, I vehemently oppose that idea.”