Results of COVID-19 tests conducted on Members of Parliament (MPs) and staff of the Parliamentary Service will not be made public.Rather they will be communicated to the individual MPs and appropriate action taken where necessary.
Once the results are out, negative or positive, results will be declared not to any other person but to the concerned individuals and the necessary steps will be taken to stop the spread of infection within Parliament,” the Medical Director of Parliament, Dr Prince Pambo, told the Daily Graphic in Parliament House yesterday when the testing took off.
He said once the samples of the test had been taken out of Parliament, the results were expected within a minimum of 48 hours and a maximum of 72 hours.
Dr Pamdo was impressed with the turnout yesterday.
The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, last Tuesday directed the Clerk and Medical Officer of Parliament to liaise with the appropriate institution to undertake testing of all MPs and staff of the Parliamentary Service for COVID-19.
He said the exercise formed part of measures to stop the spread of the infection among legislators and staff of the legislative body.
There was a smooth take-off of the testing as some legislators and staff of Parliament availed themselves for samples of their saliva to be taken.
It was initiated by the Parliamentary Service Board and facilitated by the National COVID-19 Taskforce, lawmakers.
Security personnel, cleaners, gardeners and other staff of Parliament showed up in their numbers and patiently took turns to be tested.
Planned to span over one week, the exercise was part of measures to prevent the spread of the virus in Parliament.
The exercise, which is targeted at testing and allowing about 700 legislators and staff of Parliament to know their status, started about 9 a.m.
Testing officials enquired from the participants their travel history and movements in recent times; if they had any underlying health conditions, and whether they had come into contact with a COVID-19 patient, among other things, before throat swap kits were placed in their mouths to collect samples of saliva for the test.
To ensure adherence to all hygiene protocols, the participants were required to wash their hands with soap under running water and sanitise their hands.
They also had their temperature taken and were seated a distance apart while they waited for their turn.
A number of MPs and staff of Parliament who took part in the exercise told the media that they were happy that the Parliamentary Service Board initiated the exercise to let everyone know their status.
The MP for Sissala West, Mr Patrick Adama, encouraged every lawmaker and staff of Parliament to take advantage of the exercise as their personal commitment to keep COVID-19 out of Parliament.
“If we can carry out as many tests as possible, that is going to help us to track what is happening in the transmission rate,” he said, urging people not to fear getting tested.
“If you fear stigma in knowing your status, what about death itself? I do not think anyone should worry about stigma.
If I test positive, I will know my condition and I can be looked after,” he stated.
The MP for Madina, Alhaji Abu-Bakar Saddique Boniface, noted that most people could be carriers of the virus without knowing about it.
“Undertaking this test first of all, brings transparency. It will go to the whole world that Ghanaian MPs have voluntarily come out to test and once our people see us doing it, it will encourage them to also go for test,” he said.
He advised the public to treat people who tested positive with dignity and love as a way to fight the stigma, adding that “this is a virus that anybody is vulnerable in contracting.’’