The Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye has ordered the immediate mass testing of Members of Parliament and the parliamentary staff for COVID-19.
The Speaker made this order today, Tuesday, May 19, 2020, when the House commenced sittings for the second meeting of this session.
The directive is part of measures instituted by the Parliamentary service board to prevent an outbreak of the pandemic in the legislature.
Before the house went on recess, ten (10) MPs and five members of staff went into mandatory quarantine after arriving in the country from trips abroad before borders were shut.
Delivering his opening remarks for the second meeting of this session, Prof. Mike Oquaye called for the co-operation of all concerned in making the exercise successful
Whiles, there is no scientifically approved vaccine, we should adhere to all laid down hygiene protocols which are requisite for keeping us safe. In addition to observing the established protocols, I have directed on the authority of the parliamentary service board, the clerk of Parliament and the Parliament’s medical officers to liaise with appropriate institutions to immediately conduct testing of all honorable members and staff of the parliamentary service for COVID-19 and I request your co-operation in this enterprise.
In a related development, the Ranking Member on Parliament’s Health Committee, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, had earlier called for the mass testing of MPs.
Mr. Akandoh said this in disagreement of the recall of Members of Parliament in the wake of the surge in COVID-19 case in Ghana.
He also said Parliament needed to be mindful of social distancing guidelines because of the number of MPs.
“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.