National | Politics

MPs want parliament suspended over coronavirus scare

Some Members of Parliament are calling for a suspension of sitting after health authorities announced six cases of coronavirus in Ghana.

 They say every institution including parliament should be respecting the president’s directive for a limitation on large gatherings.

MP for Juaboso Kwabena Mintah Akandoh and Bawku Central MP Mahama Ayariga are two MPs who are making a case for the suspension of sitting.

Mr. Ayariga told JoyNews: “I am of the view that if we are going to respect the president’s directive that a gathering should not exceed 25, and we are 275 plus speaker and clerks, then we should also not be sitting.

“That’s what I think. Under the rules, the speaker can designate how we can sit differently.”

He said MPs being infected will be dangerous for the country because they interact with a wide range of people.

“If we prevent ourselves from being infected, we will be saving others because we interact with a lot of our constituents,” the Bawku Central MP added.

The Juaboso MP holds a similar opinion. Asked whether sitting should be suspended, he said: “I am tempted to believe so that we should be going in that direction.”

“We should be working. But congregating or coming together on the floor of the house, I believe, is not the best,” Mr. Mintah Akandoh told Joy News.

Parliament has introduced thermometers to check the temperatures of MPs and guests before they enter into the chamber as part of measures to prevent a spread of the virus. Hand sanitizers have also been distributed all over the premises.

There have been concerns the close proximity within which MPs sit, and the fact that a lot of them have been abroad and back recently puts a lot of them at risk of contracting and spreading the disease.

Ningo Prampram MP Samuel George has called for the mass screening of all MPs who have been abroad recently, warning they pose a danger to their colleagues.

On Monday, MP for Wa West Joseph Yileh Chireh caused a stir in the house after he coughed repeatedly whilst contributing to debate on amendments to the Corporate Insolvency Bill on the floor. As he coughed, some MPs shouted in the background “Corona, Corona.”