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General News of Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Source: GNA

Parliament reacts to Starr FM report on MPs coronavirus test

Chamber of Parliament of Ghana Chamber of Parliament of Ghana

Parliament on Tuesday reacted to a report attributed to a radio station in Accra that two Members of Parliament and 13 staff have tested positive for COVID-19 following a voluntary test organised by the House last week.

According to the report, which has reportedly gone viral on social media, the identities of the persons affected were yet to be disclosed.

However, Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, in reaction to the story, told journalists that he had no such information.

“Little did I know that one media house has set Ghana on fire by relating to the story.”

He said the agreement was that when someone tested positive for the disease, the information would not be transmitted to any Member of Parliament except the one who was tested.

The Majority Leader said some confidentiality was required, and “we needed to be very circumspect.”

“… So, nobody knows whether anybody has tested positive. The people who know would be perhaps those who did the test.”

He said what that medium had done amounted to speculation and there was not truth in it.

Mr Kyei Mensah-Bonsu said it was in the best interest of all MPs, members and non-members of staff to subject themselves to the test for the sake of their families, friends and the people they came into contact with.

He advised against what he called “unhallowed speculative journalism,” adding that it became difficult for people to go for the test when such reports make the rounds.

Dr Prince Pambo, the Director of Medical Services in Parliament, described the test as a “good thing” but “beyond offering the platform for samples to be taken, to whichever lab to run, we in Parliament do not have any control over that anymore.”

“What simply happened… to the release of results is simply between the individual and the testing centres….”

He said Parliament as an institution did not play role.

However, after testing, people with medical conditions other than covid-19, be it malaria, typhoid or cancer, were told what to do.

Ms Kate Addo, the Acting Director of Public Affairs of Parliament, indicated that such reports tended to create panic and fear.

She said the House had not received any information from the testing centre on the COVID-19 status on any MP or staff of the House.

Ms Addo said the results of the test were going to be confidential and all who tested positive would be contacted by the National Response Team to follow up with the necessary protocols.

Meanwhile, Speaker Aaron Mike Oquaye has announced that the team had been recalled to conduct the test on Thursday and Friday for those who did not take part to do so, before sanctions began to apply.