The Parliament of Ghana has officially shut down for three weeks over the abnormal upsurge of confirmed positive cases of the Novel Corona Virus disease within the premises and precincts of the law-making body at Osu in the Greater Accra region.
The number of staff working within the corridors of Parliament who have tested positive to the deadly disease has more than doubled from just a few days ago when the results of a screening exercise for MPs and staff was announced by the Speaker on the Floor of the House.
In less than a week, the number has increased from 56 to 151 confirmed positive cases for Members of staff and ancillary workers of the Parliamentary Service, while the positive cases for MPs has moved from 15 to 17. Bringing the total number of confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 within the precincts of Parliament to 168 so far.
The Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, RT. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, announced to the House a few minutes after the commencement of sitting on Tuesday, February 9, 2021 that, he has been compelled by the available information to suspend sittings of the House for the next three weeks in order to prevent a further spread of the disease to the rest of the MPs and staff.
“Hon. Members, having regard to the upsurge of the coronavirus infection in the House viz 17 MPs and 151 staff and ancillary workers in the precincts of Parliament, and the fact that the Appointments Committee is yet to commence consideration of His Excellency the President’s ministerial nominees, I have, in consultation with Leadership, decided that Sitting of the House be adjourned for three (3) weeks.”
It would be recalled that, at the last adjourned date on 5th February, 2021, the House decided that Parliament sits on Tuesdays and Thursdays until otherwise decided. The House further decided that not more than one-third of Hon. Members would attend Sittings of the House in the Chamber at any given time. However, that decision has been overtaken by events.
It is hoped that within this period of adjournment, the Appointments Committee would commence consideration and public hearing of the President’s nominees for Ministerial appointments from Wednesday, February 10, 2021. By the end of the three weeks, the Appointments Committee is expected to submit reports on the referral for the consideration of the House.
The Speaker announced that, “Accordingly, with the exception of Hon. Members of the Appointments Committee, the Clerk to the Committee and other supporting staff who will be engaged in the task of considering the President’s nominees for ministerial appointments, the House will take a break as from tomorrow, Wednesday, 10 February 2021 to Tuesday, 2 March, 2021.
“During that period, Hon Members are to comply with the strict COVID -19 protocols and regulations. Members and staff should re-submit themselves to the Parliament Medical Centre for re-testing after two weeks from tomorrow to ascertain their status before the resumption of the House. Meanwhile Parliament will continue with the weekly disinfection and sanitization of the premises and precincts of Parliament.”
Source: Clement Akoloh||parliamentnews360.com