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COVID-19: Shut down parliament, says Gyampo

At least 15 MPs and 56 parliamentary staff have tested positive for COVID-19 forcing the House to now sit twice a week

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  • "I have heard somebody saying close down the entire parliament, let it be so, about three weeks ago I advocated for a two-week close down, let us close down the entire nation, two weeks and let us be hungry."

Prof Ransford Gyampo, a senior lecturer at the University of Ghana, has backed calls for the closure of parliament after some MPs tested positive for COVID-19.

Speaking on The Asaase Breakfast Show with Benjamin Offei-Addo on Friday, Prof Gyampo said the call for the shut down of parliament by opposition MP for Builsa South, Clement Apaak, is in the right direction.

“If those who are expected to know better are refusing to comply with some of these basics, then I think the battle against COVID-19 has been fought and we have lost it,” he said.

Gyampo added: “I have heard somebody saying close down the entire parliament, let it be so, about three weeks ago I advocated for a two-week close down, let us close down the entire nation, two weeks and let us be hungry.”

Lockdown

The senior lecturer at the University of Ghana reiterated his call for government to impose nationwide lockdown to help contain the spread of the viral disease.

He argues that the lockdown could force Ghanaians to change their attitude towards strict adherence of COVID-19 protocols.

“If we are hungry and we are opened, you tend to approach how you celebrate your freedom with some amount of trepidation. It is only when we have closed down that the idea of we taking good care of ourselves become so real to us,” Gyampo stressed.

Economic implications of lockdown

For his part on the same show, Dr Kwaku Agyeman-Budu, head of Law Centres, GIMPA Faculty of Law believes imposing lockdown could be very difficult considering the economic implications.

He believes self-regulation by adhering strictly to the safety protocols could help address the problem.

15 MPs test positive for COVID-19

Meanwhile, 15 MPs and 56 parliamentary staff have tested positive for COVID-19, the speaker revealed on Thursday.

Alban Bagbin said as part of the precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus, the House will sit twice – Tuesdays and Thursdays – in a week going forward.

He emphasized that the infected lawmakers and the parliamentary staff have been contacted to self-isolate while they are being treated.

“Report from Parliament medical centre reveal that 227 members submitted themselves for the test while others conducted their own tests at private medical facilities. I want to urge those who conducted their own tests at private medical facilities to submit the results of those tests to the parliamentary medical centre,” Bagbin stated.

He continued: “Out of those who submitted themselves for the test in Parliament, 15 MPs tested positive to the virus. All the 15 have been contacted and advised to self-isolate. They have also been given prescriptions to facilitate their recovery.

“Results of 193 staff received so far revealed that 56 of them tested positive to the virus. All the 56 staff have been contacted and advised to self-isolate. They have also been given prescriptions to facilitate their recovery. Parliament is also taking steps to test the household of the 15 MPs and 56 staff in order to avert reinfection upon their return from self-isolation and treatment.”

“In consultation with leadership and the clerk, I have decided to implement the following measures to curb the spread of the virus; the House will from next week sit twice in a week – Tuesdays and Thursdays. Only MPs and members of staff who are needed for the business of the House on those days will be allowed on the precinct of Parliament. This excludes members of staff who have tested positive and those who are yet to provide their results.”

Fred Dzakpata 

Asaase Radio 99.5 – tune in or log on to broadcasts online.

Follow us on Twitter: @asaaseradio995

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