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MPs, staff and journalists in Parliament test positive for coronavirus

The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, on Friday, indicated that some Members and Staff of Parliament and Journalists covering proceedings in the House have tested positive for the new Coronavirus in the recent test carried out in the House.

He said the testing team had informed them of their status.

The Majority Leader, subsequently, advised them to stay away from the Legislature.

He said some people who were contacted by the testing team, however, ignored the appeal from them and visited Parliament to endanger the lives of all members.

“Unfortunately, some people have elected after contact is made with them to ignore the appeal from the testing team and visit Parliament and they endanger the lives of all of us.”

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu made the appeal when he read the Business Statement for the Fifth Week ending Friday, 19th June 2020.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu also explained that the Speaker and Leadership of Parliament arranged for members, staff and journalists to be tested for the virus.

However, those who tested positive would not be openly identified but contacted behind the curtain and to have their situation managed.

“Mr Speaker, it is important to remind all of us, MPs, Staff, and Journalists, we need to be protective of one another. Mr Speaker, you and Leadership arranged for all of us to test for the Coronavirus disease, which has unfortunately engulfed this country.

“The arrangement was that anybody who unfortunately tested positive would not be openly identified but the testing team would have the arrangement to contact them behind the curtains and have the situation managed,” he added.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu also appealed to MPs, Staff and Journalists who had been contacted behind the curtain and had not submitted themselves to the testing team to do so.

“Mr Speaker, we want to appeal to MPs, Staff and Journalists who have been contacted behind the curtain and who are not submitting themselves to the testing team. You are imperilling the lives of all of us,” he said.

“The issue, Speaker, is if you submitted yourselves and tested negative as some of us have, I have submitted myself on two occasions and tested negative it does mean I am out of the wood. If somebody tested positive and comes close to me chances are that I may contract the disease and that goes for everybody.”

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the testing team was getting frustrated and thus made appealed once again to members, staff and journalists, saying “if you are contacted please don’t come and imperil the lives of people.

“Yesterday, it was observed that one person who has been spoken to have gotten close to some MPs and was engaging them, even though he has been spoken to. So please let’s be on the watch out for one another.”

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu also announced that the Speaker intended to arrange for the testing team to be in the House for the third time so that MPs, Staff and Journalists who could not submit themselves the other time could take the opportunity for the last time.

The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, in a remark, urged colleague MPs and Staff of the Parliamentary Service to do a little more than just respect the Speaker’s orders and directive relative to COVID-19 whether it was testing or isolation.

He maintained that the medical records of any individual remained the confidential record of that person and people must respect it.

He said the fact that somebody had undertaken an examination in COVID-19, a public health problem, did not necessarily mean that people could just share the medical record of that person.

“Mr Speaker, it is not for nothing that you are the Head of this House and all of us must respect your directive on the matter,” he added.

The Speaker, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, directed the Marshall of Office of Parliament to deal with research assistants who had been flouting an earlier directive to stay away from the House due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus disease.

Prof Oquaye also urged MPs, Staff and Journalists who had not submitted themselves to testing to heed to his directive to do so.

“I have directed that every person who operates from here an MP as official or a media person as an invitee must heed our directive to do a test,” he added.

“We are arranging for another time for the relevant personnel to come to your doorstep after that those who don’t want to test, don’t want to enter our premises.”

He said no person had the right to endanger another’s life, adding that it was a human rights issue.

 

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