COVID-19: Parliament will not shut down – Speaker

The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Bagbin, has told some Members of Parliament (MPs) calling the legislature to shut down because of the continues rise in the number of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the country, especially, the number of infected lawmakers, to reconsider their position considering the number of challenges confronting the country.

According to the Speaker, it will be too suicidal for the country should the legislature shut down considering the number of issues the House has to deal with in conjunction with the Judiciary and the Executive.

Some MPs have called on the leadership of Parliament to shut down the legislature following the partial release of the COVID-19 test results of the MPs that revealed that 15 had test positive while 56 staff of the Parliamentary Service had also tested positive of the virus.

Considering the number of those positive cases, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Builsa South, Dr. Clement Apaak called for the shutdown of Parliament to enable all lawmakers and staff of the Parliamentary Service to isolate for fourteen (14) days.

He insisted that was the option for the House.

Dr. Apaak in a post on his social media handle said “15 MPs and 56 staff of parliament have tested positive for COVID-19. The best option is to shut down Parliament. We don’t know the IDs of those positive, who still attended Parliament. Shut down Parliament, all MPs and staff, self-isolate. Get us tested after 14 days, then we resume if negative.”

However, the Speaker, presiding over a sitting on Thursday, February 4, 2021, and commenting on the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country said shutting down Parliament is not an alternative.

“We should not allow Parliament to shut down. That is not an alternative. It will be too suicidal for the whole country because of a lot of things we have to do to be able to fight COVID-19. Parliament will have to work with the Judiciary and the Executive to keep Ghana alive. So, let’s continue to be honourable. That word is not an empty title. An honourable Member of Parliament must behave honourable”, he said.

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