Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye

Coronavirus: MPs to have temperature tested before entering chamber – Speaker

Speaker of Parliament has ordered the Clerk Office of the House to check temperatures of MPs and visitors in parliament in the wake of coronavirus scare.

Prof. Mike Oquaye also admonished Members of Parliament to avoid handshaking and make good use of hand sanitizers installed at vantage points in Parliament.

The speaker also urged the MPs to adopt the ‘India greeting culture.

It comes as President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has directed the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, to make available the cedi equivalent of $100 million to enhance Ghana’s Coronavirus preparedness and response plan.

This amount, according to President Akufo-Addo, “is to fund the expansion of infrastructure, purchase of materials and equipment, and public education.”

Delivering an address to the nation on Wednesday, 11th March 2020, the President explained that, with the declaration by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of the Coronavirus disease as “a pandemic”, it is important that Ghana steps up her preparedness to ensure that, beyond the initial measures that have been put in place, a ‘whole of Ghana’ approach is adopted in preparation for a possible hit within the country’s borders.

Already, all of Ghana’s immediate neighbors, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, and Togo, have recorded confirmed cases of infections, and countries like Italy, where there is a large population of Ghanaians, have escalated their response to the outbreak.

Ghana’s entry points, such as her airports and land borders, President Akufo-Addo said, continue to show satisfactory preparedness to screen all entrants into the country, with the Ministry of Health designating a quarantine facility that can hold infected persons, whilst regional hospitals are preparing isolation centers for holding suspected cases.

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“Our country’s two main research institutions, the Noguchi Memorial Institute and the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research, which have the capacity to investigate and confirm or otherwise suspected cases of Coronavirus infections, have been very supportive in this regard. So far, they have found that the fifty-seven (57) suspected cases, as of today, Wednesday, 11th March, have proved negative,” he said.

The President continued, “I have, as at yesterday, ordered a suspension of all international travels by public officials. Except for critical assignments, which will have to be authorized by the Chief of Staff at the Office of the President, all public officials are to remain within the jurisdiction, until further notice. Video conferencing facilities and other technological tools are to be utilized, whenever possible, for international engagements.”