The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has directed two Members of Parliament who travelled outside Ghana to stay away from Parliament until after they have exhausted the voluntary self-isolation for two weeks to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
He stated that while those legislators had been given a certificate of clearance to travel back into Ghana, they should “stay away from the House for the period of purging before they come here [Parliament].”
He also directed that such measures should be equally applied to other staff of Parliament and their spouses who also travelled and were yet to arrive in Ghana.
“Because of what is happening, it is important we make it known to colleagues who have travelled outside that on their return they are not welcomed here,” he stated.
The Majority Leader made the call when he moved a motion for the House to be suspended Thursday.
He named the MP for Binduri, Dr Robert Baba Kuganab-Lem, who had just arrived in Ghana by Ethiopian Airways from Tokyo and the MP for Ayawaso East, Mr Naser Toure Mahama, who would be coming back to Ghana from India via Emirates, saying that “Information should go to him.”
He mentioned the names of the staff of Parliament as Mr Joseph Ekow Acquah, who went to Nigerian, Mr Amoako Asante Atta from Niamey, Niger, Ms Florence Bedford, Mr Abdul Fataou Alhassan, Ms Emelia Sawyer and Ms Stella Bonney.
“Mr Speaker, the advice is that these people should stay outside for the time being. They have been given a certificate of clearance to come back but it is important that we communicate certainly to them,” he stated.
Health Minister’s response
Responding to the request by the Majority Leader, the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, said such report should not have come to the notice of the Speaker at all because “we have put in place guidelines which should guide Ghanaians who are coming back to the country.”
He said once a traveller was profiled at the airport, he or she would be allowed self-quarantine under the supervision of health officials who would monitor and link him to health authorities within his location.
“So now that the Majority Leader has taken this request, I will want to take their details and contact numbers and pass it on to our workers who are doing this work to trace and meet them at the airport and guide them to their homes to continue to monitor them for two weeks,” he said.
The MP for Dormaa Central stated that the advice for voluntary self-isolation should not be for only colleague MPs who would be arriving in the country
“All of us even when you have not travelled but come into contact with someone who might have been diagnosed, you do not need anybody to advise you to go into self-quarantine; you should do that voluntarily such that you take yourself from the challenge that we have.
“The disease is not very fatal but the rate at which it spreads is quite frightening and therefore we should all keep ourselves away from contact and stop moving from place to place, especially those who like visiting MPs. Those who go to MPs homes should stop going,” he advised.