Parliament tells staff to go home

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Parliament has asked its staff members, with the exception of those providing critical services, to proceed on their annual leave with immediate effect to reduce the potential spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The legislative body, in a notice to all members of staff, said all officers on contract or temporary appointment, national service persons, Members of Parliament (MPs) research assistants and other ancillary service providers working on the premises of the House are also required to take their leave and keep away from the precincts of Parliament.

The notice, however, exempted staff categorized as providing essential services to the legislative business taking place in the House.

It added that the acting Clerk to Parliament, Cyril K. O. Nsiah, would coordinate the implementation of the directives, and assured members of staff that they would be paid their salaries and other allowances due them through their individual bank accounts.

The notice asked the heads of various departments, members of staff, national service persons and research assistants to strictly comply with the directives accordingly or would be severely sanctioned if breached.

The legislative arm is the latest governmental body to make such an announcement as the country’s COVID-19 cases rose to 68 as of yesterday afternoon.

It followed a similar one by the Registrar General’s Department which expanded that request to its entire staff, except essential service providers, after engaging in staff rotation to deal with the potential spread of the virus.

The notice of Parliament, as announced on Tuesday, again barred all visitors from coming to Parliament, unless otherwise stated, and urged any individual intending to visit any person in Parliament to do so at the residence of the person or communicate electronically to the person.

It indicated that the measures were meant to decongest Parliament for the safe conduct of essential business, and that research assistants of MPs should work from home in adhering to the directives.

The notice also said the Marshall, with assistance from the security unit, would regularly monitor and inspect attendance in the various offices to ensure full compliance of the directives.

National Fasting And Prayer

Meanwhile, Parliament yesterday prayed for the nation in line with the observation of the national fasting and prayer as directed by President Akufo-Addo.

Led by the Speaker, Prof. Mike Oquaye, the House prayed for God’s intervention and healing power to take away COVID-19 from Ghana and the rest of the world.

The Chairman of the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship, Emmanuel Bedzrah of Ho West Constituency, opened the session with exhortation and it was followed by 10 different prayer topics by MPs from both sides of the political divide.

The lawmakers prayed also for patients to get healed, healthcare workers to be protected and scientific researchers at both Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research for the nation to get an antidote or cure for the disease.

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