COVID-19 scare: Parliament to abandon chamber

Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Rit. Hon. Prof Aaron Mike Oquaye has hinted of a possibility to abandon the chamber for a new place to conduct parliamentary business in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

He said the legislative arm of government is thinking of relocating Parliament to the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC), which he believes is a more spacious area,

Speaking in Parliament at the early hours of Monday, 23 March 2020, Rit Hon Oquaye explained that the move to relocate to AICC is in their bid to observe social distancing as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Rt. Hon. Prof. Aaron Mike Ocquaye – Speaker of Parliament

Prof Oquaye has also admonished the Members of Parliament (MP) to adhere strictly to social distancing been advocate by health experts.

Meanwhile MP for Assin Central, Mr Kennedy Agyapong had a contrary view to the move to relocate parliamentary business to AICC.

He is of the opinion that leadership of the House should rather suspend Parliament instead.

He said the sitting arrangement in parliament is too close and that puts the lawmakers at a high risk of contracting the virus, that is, if a member unknowingly gets infected.

Mr Agyapong explained that the MPs will use their long break to do parliamentary duties after the infection has been totally eradicated in the country.

Speaking on his Accra-based Net 2 television on Wednesday, 18 March 2020, Mr Agyapong said: “I’ll like to appeal to the leadership of Parliament to put parliamentary duties on hold for now. Let us go on break as the country deals with the outbreak and then later use our long vacation to work. By that time the problem may have been dealt with,” he suggested.

He added: “Although there are sanitizers all over the place where we can all wash our hands frequently, we need to discourage that sitting arrangement because we are too close in the house.”

In a bid to ensure the casualties are reduced to the barest minimum, the country has put in place some measures including a ban on social gatherings, shut down of schools, churches among others.

Ghana has confirmed 24 cases of the disease with one casualty so far.

Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
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