Prof Mike Oquaye, Speaker of Parliament

Speaker of Parliament Prof Aaron Michael Oquaye, has ordered Members of Parliament, staff of the Parliamentary Service Board and members of the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC) to make themselves available for mandatory testing for the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The new directive, he said, has become imperative and urged the targeted groups not to wait till the House starts applying sanctions for failure to undergo the testing.

Parliament last week organized voluntary testing for MPs, Staff and the media as part of efforts to stem the tide of the spread of the Coronavirus.

Addressing the House before commencement of business on Tuesday, Speaker Mike Oquaye insisted it is mandatory for every MP, every staff of Parliament and PPC members to test for COVID-19.

“Honourables, further to the test taken last week it is imperative to inform that we should take this matter very seriously. In this connection on Thursday and on Friday, the team has been recalled to parliament.

“They will come back right here to test members, staff and media etc.

“The decision is that in our collective interest it is mandatory. Don’t wait to the state of applying sanctions,” he warned.

The Speaker explained that elaborate steps are being taken to ensure the observation of all appropriate protocols in the light of results.

He assured that there will be absolute confidentiality and professionalism in handling all cases both negative and positive.

The new move by Parliament is to ensure effective contact tracing after reports suggest two MPs and 13 staff have tested positive for the disease.

Medical Director for Parliament, Dr Prince Pambo, who addressed the media on the testing indicated that he has no information on any MP being inflicted by the coronavirus.

He, however, argued it should not be surprising if an MP has the virus because there are nearly 7,000 Ghanaians who have contracted it.

In a related development, Ghana’s COVD-19 case count has shot up to 6,964.

Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, announced this on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

2,097 persons who got infected with the virus have also recovered while the date toll still stands at 32.

Meanwhile, Parliament has parried the reports that two MPs and 13 staff of Parliament have tested positive for the virus.

According to a release by the Director of Public Affairs Kate Addo, the test results of the test are not yet known and so any report on it is false.

She noted that the confidentiality protocol is that those who test positive will be called directly by the testing team.

“Officially, Parliament is unaware of any such call and therefore there hasn’t been any official figures giving by the National COVID-19 response team,” she stated.

She assured the public that Parliament remains committed to ensuring the safety and avoidance of the possible spread of the disease on its premises.