COVID-19: Attorney General lays bill restricting movement of persons before Parliament

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The Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo has laid before Parliament, a bill restricting the movement of persons.

This comes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic which has claimed some 8,200 lives and still counting. Among the casualties of the disease include three Ghanaians based in Italy and Denmark.

According to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor-Botchwey, even though the three lost their lives to the disease in Europe, it is still early to contemplate evacuating Ghanaian citizens from the continent which is the epicentre of the disease.

The Minister in an interview with ABC News in Parliament also advised Ghanaians abroad to be careful in the discharge of their duties outside the country.

“We have actually advised people [not to travel back] even our officers and those who have finished their tour of duty and are supposed to come back home. We have asked them to stay on…We have given them a month. If it is still raging after a month we will give them more time.”

“We have advised Ghanaians generally everywhere to stay put unless it is absolutely necessary. But for our staff who need to come home, we have asked them to stay,” she said.

In Ghana, however, the country has recorded a spike in cases with the latest being a 35-year-old male citizen who returned home from France bringing the cases to seven.

This has led to widespread fears that the country’s cases might shoot up in the coming days after the Ghana Health Service revealed that the patients came into contact with more than 350 individuals.

In a bid to contain the spread of the disease, President Akufo Ado announced some measures including shutting down of schools, church activities as well as a ban on public gatherings.

In a televised address on Sunday, March 15, 2020, the President also tasked the Attorney General to immediately present before MPs, the bill backing those directives for their approval.

On the floor of the House, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Madam Gloria Akufo presented before the House, the Imposition of Restrictions Bill, 2020.

The bill when passed into law will give the President powers to announce a lockdown of the country anytime the safety and security of Ghanaians are compromised.

“The purpose of the Bill is to provide for powers to impose restrictions on persons in the event of a disaster, emergency or similar circumstance, to ensure public safety and protection.”

The bill has since been laid before Parliament’s Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for determination on whether it should be considered under a certificate of urgency or not.

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