Speaker Orders Ayariga Into Self-Isolation

Mahama Ayariga

The MEMBER of Parliament (MP) for the Bawku Central
Constituency, Mahama Ayariga, has been asked by the Speaker of Parliament to go
into self-isolation and keep away from the precincts of Parliament until after
March 27, 2020.

Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, who gave the directive, said
the MP was required to observe the minimum two-week period of self-isolation in
his residence in view of his recent return to Ghana from a foreign trip on
March 12.

In a letter signed by the acting Clerk of Parliament,
Cyril K. O. Nsiah, the Speaker explained that the move was in conformity with
the World Health Organisation (WHO) protocols aimed at preventing the spread of
the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The MP was directed to consult Dr. Prince Pambo, the
Medical Officer in charge of Parliament Clinic, for a quick medical review
prior to resumption of duty in the House.

“Accordingly, in order to reduce physical contact with
Hon. Members and staff of Parliament, you are humbly requested to keep away
from the precincts of Parliament until after the 27th of March,
2020,” the letter written on March 20 said.

Last Friday, the Bawku MP was seen in the Chamber mingling
with his colleagues during which he took part of
deliberations of the House during the consideration stage of the Imposition of
Restrictions Bill (now Act).

Amid fears over the spread of COVID-19, the Speaker
accordingly directed all MPs, who had travelled outside the country, to “respectfully
stay away from Parliament.”

The Bawku MP is among 10 lawmakers, who  have
been asked to keep away from the precincts of Parliament, including the MP for
the Binduri Constituency, Dr. Robert Baba Kuganab-Lem, and his counterpart for
the Ayawaso East, Naser Toure Mahama, who were said to have travelled to Tokyo
and India respectively.

Few MPs attend sessions in recent times and amid a
subdued atmosphere, Prof. Oquaye promised to ensure “maximum safety” within the
precinct of Parliament for MPs and staff members.

There have been demands by some MPs to close Parliament
entirely as the coronavirus cases rise, but currently there are no plans by the
Speaker and the leadership, except the consideration to move sitting to the
International Conference Hall.

So far, sanitizers and water with pieces of soap have
been put at various vintage points in Parliament to help MPs, staff, media
practitioners and visitors to wash their hands as they enter the precincts of
the House.

The MP for Twifo Atti-Morkwa, Abraham Dwuma Odoom,
praised the Speaker and the Parliamentary Service for the steps taken to reduce
the spread of the virus.

“This is the best way to handle the situation. Mr. Speaker and the Executive have shown leadership in the fight against COVID-19,” he noted. 

By Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House