The surge in numbers of Members of Parliament (MPs), staff and auxiliary staff of the Parliamentary Service infected with the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), has compelled the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, to suspend sittings of the House for three weeks.
The directive takes effect from Wednesday, February 10, 2021 to Tuesday, March 2, 2021.
So far, a total of seventeen (17) MPs and 151 staff and auxiliary staff of the Parliamentary Service have tested positive for COVID-19 following release of results of tests conducted on them last Friday, February 5, 2021.
Prior to last Friday, the number of infected MPs with COVID-19 had stood at fifteen (15) with 56 staff and auxiliary staff of the Parliamentary Service also contracting the virus.
The sharp increase in the number of affected MPs, staff and auxiliary staff of the Parliamentary Service, according to the Speaker, calls for urgent measures, with suspension of the House for three weeks being the best option to enable all the lawmakers and staff of the parliamentary service to self-isolate for a period of fourteen (14) days in compliance with the COVID-19 protocols.
“Hon. Members, having regard to the upsurge of the coronavirus infection in the House now reaching 17 MPs and 151 staff and auxiliary staff 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 the sittings of the House be suspended for three weeks”, Rt. Hon. Bagbin announced at a sitting on Tuesday, February 9, 2021.
He added “It is hoped that within this period of adjournment, the Appointments Committee will commence consideration and public hearing of the President’s nominees for appointments. By the end of the three weeks, the Appointments Committee would have submitted reports on the referrals for the consideration of the House”.
During the period, only MPs on the Appointments Committee, the Clerks to the Appointments Committee, and other supporting staff who will be engaged in the task of considering the President’s nominees for ministerial appointments will be granted access to the precincts and offices of the legislature.
The House will also undergo the weekly disinfection and sanitization of the premises and precincts of Parliament.
The Speaker further directed that all affected persons having complied with the mandatory 14 days self-isolation should resubmit themselves to the Parliament Medical Center for re-testing to ascertain their status before the resumption of the House.