The Minority Chief Whip, Mubarak Mohammed Muntaka, has insisted that two of his fellow Members of Parliament (MPs) and 13 parliamentary staff have tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease also known as COVID-19.
“What happened in Parliament and what you heard [about MPs testing positive for COVID-19] is the fact. It is the truth,” Mr. Muntaka insisted.
On Tuesday, May 26, 2020, there were media reports that some MPs and parliamentary staff had tested positive for COVID-19, a claim denied by Parliament.
But Muntaka insisted that there was a communication failure on the part of Parliament when the news was made public on Tuesday.
Mr. Muntaka said Parliament failed to handle the issue properly.
To him, when the publication was made, instead of denying it, Parliament should have told the media that: “We are not done with the testing so please don’t create panic. Give us time to complete the testing and when it becomes necessary to communicate to you on anything that has happened, we will do that.”
The Asawase MP made the remarks on Joy Prime’s morning show on Wednesday, May 27, 2020.
“This is what happened; when they [health officials] finished the testing, they were initially calling people one after the other. But they later told us that, because the numbers were huge, they asked that we put on our platform that, all those who do not receive calls from us but have been tested…should assume they are negative and they will only call those who are positive.”
Muntaka said, after health officials were done picking samples in the House last Wednesday, they realised that “one MP and one staff tested positive and on Thursday one MP and 12 staff tested positive for COVID-19.”
The Asawase legislator noted that the infected persons have subsequently been isolated while contact tracing has commenced.
“They have to do contact tracing and they have to isolate these persons, and as far as I am concerned, that has also been done,” he added.
The Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, ordered the immediate mass testing of Members of Parliament and the parliamentary staff for COVID-19.
The directive formed part of measures instituted by the Parliamentary Service Board to prevent an outbreak of the pandemic in the House.
As a result of that directive, the samples of some 690 persons in Parliament were taken.
MPs’ results not yet known, ignore ‘false’ claims of positive tests – Parliament
Meanwhile, Parliament on Tuesday, May 26, 2020, rejected claims that some legislators have tested positive for COVID-19.
A statement signed by Parliament’s Director of Public Affairs, Kate Addo said: “Parliament would like to state categorically that the results of the tests are not yet known and so the report by Starrfmonline is not true.”
“Parliament would, therefore, like to urge Starrfmonline to withdraw the said report and update its audience with the relevant information to the effect that the results from the tests are unknown to Parliament,” the statement added.