As part of measures to stop the spread of the COVID-19 disease in Parliament and the country as a whole, the Parliament of Ghana has embarked on a mandatory COVID-19 screening exercise for Members, staff and auxiliary workers of Parliament.
The exercise held with the support of the medical team from the Ghana Health Service (GHS) nearly came to a standstill on Friday, May 22, when about 50 Chinese nationals walked into the Lobby of Parliament House where the exercise was taking place to join the queue for the screening exercise. We later gathered that the Chinese nationals were part of the construction workers engaged for the construction of the additional office complexe for Members of Parliament as an attachment to the Job 600 building.
The Friday screening exercise was dedicated to non-essential staff and ancillary workers of Parliament, hence the presence of the Chinese nationals. An official from the office of the Marshal of Parliament who was in charge of crowd control at the venue disclosed.
Initially, the entrance of the Chinese nationals into the lobby and their attempt to join the cue caused a stir with some of the people in the queue making frantic efforts to avoid any contacts with them for fear of the unknown.
It is now an open secret that the Coronavirus which is wreaking havoc at the global level both socially and economically, originated from China. With a large number of people from that part of the world losing their lives. It was therefore not surprising that people were apprehensive about the Chinese nationals in their mist.
It became very obvious to them that they were not welcomed in the setting which they found themselves but there was nothing they could do about it because Parliament as an institution had made compulsory for every individual engaged in any activity within the precincts of Parliament to be tested.
Though no announcement has been made about any positive case of the COVID-19 disease involving any member associated with Parliament, the Parliament of Ghana of Ghana has always been considered as a hot bed for potential infection of the virus because of the nature of its work and the extent of its exposure to the outside world.
Before the first case of the COVID-19 was confirmed in Ghana and before the Government took its first steps to protect the citizenry by closing the country’s borders and the airports, some Members of Parliament and staff were on various official assignments outside the country.
Some of them returned just in time from some of their trips to the then exposed countries to come and follow the laid down safety protocols to self-quarantine. Others threw caution to the wind and still came to mingle with the House as if nothing was at stake.
The Parliament of Ghana is one of the institutions which has been proactive at implementing measures to protect its internal and external public right from the confirmation of the first few cases. Under the leadership of the Right Honorable Speaker Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, a directive was issued for MPs who had just returned from their trips to stay away from the House and self-quarantine for at least two weeks.
Before it became popular, the Legislative institution procured veronica buckets and hand sanitizers and placed them at vantage points within the premises of Parliament and ensured that everyone who was working around the main chamber of Parliament was provided with a nose mask.
With this current exercise, Parliament is once again one of the first institutions of state to conduct a mandatory COVID-19 screening exercise for its Members and staff.
Source: Clement Akoloh