Ghana’s Parliament has threatened to sanction all legislators who fail to undergo the mandatory COVID-19 test.
According to the Speaker of Parliament, Prof Aaron Mike Oquaye, this move is necessary to ensure the deadly coronavirus pandemic doesn’t afflict the House and its MPs as well as staff.
Parliament last week, directed the Clerk and Medical Officer of Parliament to liaise with the Ghana Health Service to undertake testing of all Members of Parliament and staff of the Parliamentary Service for the viral disease.
“In addition to observing the established protocols, I have directed, on the authority of the Parliamentary Service Board, the Clerk and Parliament’s Medical Officer to liaise with the appropriate institution to immediately conduct testing of all honourable members and staff of the Parliamentary Service for COVID-19,” the Speaker in his opening remarks to the plenary on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.
The three-day exercise which began on Wednesday May 20, 2020, and ended on Friday, May 22, 2020 was meant to ensure all MPs are captured in the exercise and tested for COVID-19.
Parliament’s Director of Medical Services, Dr. Prince Pambo in an earlier interaction, also disclosed that the outcome of the COVID-19 test on Members of Parliament and staff will not be made public but rather made known individually to those who tested.
“Once the results are out, negative or positive, results will be declared not to any other person but the concerned individuals, and the necessary steps will be taken to stop the spread of infection within Parliament,” Dr. Prince Pambo said.
Checks by ABC News, however, reveal that several MPs failed to take part in the three-day exercise.
This has left the Speaker of Parliament fuming with rage culminating in another window of opportunity for MPs and staff to undergo the mandatory testing on Thursday, May 28, 2020, and Friday, May 29, 2020.
“It is mandatory for every member of Parliament, every staff of Parliament to test for COVID-19. The press corps must also submit themselves to the test. It is imperative that we take this matter very seriously. In this connection, on Thursday and Friday, the teams have been recalled to Parliament to test MPs, staff, media, etc.”
“The decision is that, in our collective interest, it is mandatory, don’t wait till we get to the stage of applying sanctions. Elaborate steps are being taken to ensure the observation of all appropriate protocols in the light of results. Absolute confidentiality and professionalism will be applied in handling all cases, negative and positive,” the Speaker said during proceedings on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.