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Ghana Members of Parliament and staff to be tested for COVID-19

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Members and Staff of Parliament are to be immediately tested for Covid-19, Professor Aaron Michael Ouaye, the Speaker of Parliament, has announced.

As Speaker Oquaye welcomed them back from recess to commence sitting for the next meeting, he said: “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.”

“I request your cooperation in this enterprise.”

Before the House went on break 10 MPs and five members of staff went into mandatory quarantine after they had arrived in Ghana just before  the borders were closed.

The Speaker expressed the belief that the tests would help prevent the transmission of the disease in the Parliament House.

The Speaker, before the House adjourned from the last meeting, announced that he had undergone testing, which was negative.

He urged the legislators to adhere to all laid down hygiene protocols to abate the spread of the disease.

These include washing of hands with soap under running water, cleaning of hands with clean disposable paper, application of approved hand sanitizers, wearing of approved masks while in public and observing social distancing to ensure safety.

Health Minister Kwaku Agyemang Manu, who later gave the House an update on the Covid-19 pandemic and Cerebro Spinal Meningitis (CSM) in the Upper West Region, said the Covid-19 pandemic was still of global relevance.

Meanwhile Ghana has recorded 178 new cases of COVID-10, bringing the total case count to 6,096, with 1,773 recoveries and 31 deaths.

Mr Agyemang Manu referred to an article published in the Washington Post Newspaper giving praise to the Government of Ghana for having more than 161,000 persons tested, urging superpowers to study smaller nations’ response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Mr Speaker, we are working hard to save every life and avoid even a single death,” the Minister assured the House.

He announced that the World Health Organisation was studying some of Ghana’s techniques including the potential time-saving practice of “Pool Testing” in which multiple blood samples are tested together and processed separately only if a positive result was found.

On CSM, the Minister announced that as at May 17, 2020, there were 315 cases with 45 deaths being recorded.

The disease is affecting the Upper West Region and present in communities like Jirapa, Nadowli, Lawra and Nandom, but Mr Agyemang Manu assured the House that the Regional Health Emergency Team, together with the Municipal and District Health Emergency Team “are still at work.”

They are meeting weekly, coordinating efforts of staff and community officers as well as sensitising people on the need to report early to the clinic at the slightest sign of feeling unwell.

“CSM, Mr Speaker, is an endemic condition, our efforts would continue to be working at preventing outbreaks and in the unfortunate situation of an outbreak, coordinate the output of all stakeholders to speedily arrest the situation as has happened…,” the Minister said.

However, some members on the Minority Side including Chief Whip Alhaji Muhamad Mubarak Muntaka, Samuel Atta Mills, MP Komenda Edina Eguafo Abrem Constituency, Dr Sebastian Sandaare, MP for Daffiama Bussie Issa, were of the view that the Government should do more on the COVId-19 pandemic rather than basking in the commendation from the Washington Post.

During the Meeting, the House would among other things work on bills and about 27 instruments and other papers. It will possibly rise early August, 2020.

Source: GNA

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