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Speaker shoots down calls for closure of Parliament

Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Bagbin
Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Bagbin

Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has rejected calls for the House to shut down after some 71 persons tested positive for Covid-19.

The affected persons include 15 Members of Parliament (MPs) and 56 staff in the House.

Following the confirmed cases, health experts, and civil society organisations, including Africa Centre for Parliamentary Affairs, have called on the leadership to, as a matter of urgency, shut down to prevent further spread of the virus.

However, Mr Bagbin has dismissed the calls, stating such a move will be suicidal for the country and the entire government machinery.

Meanwhile, the Minister-designate for Communications and Digitisation, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has expressed reservations about how the test results were handled.

She accused the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research of breaching their ethical standards of doctor-patient confidentiality for revealing identities of the affected persons without their consent.

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She questioned why a respected institution like Noguchi will hand over the results to leadership of Parliament without their prior knowledge and subsequent approval.

But the Minority Caucus Chief Whip, Mohamed Muntaka Mubarak, who disagreed with Mrs Owusu-Ekuful, said the move is in compliance with Article 18 (2) of the 1992 constitution.

He also urged leadership to reject test results of MPs from private laboratories undertaking COVID-19 test.

Majority Caucus Leader, Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, on his part, called on members to stop bastardising private companies undertaking COVID-19 tests as if they’re not credible facilities.

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