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Parliament shuts down over COVID outbreak among MPs, staff

Parliament shut down over COVID outbreak among Members of Parliament and staff (PHOTO /Courtesy)

KAMPALA — Parliament will shut down for at least two weeks over a surge in coronavirus cases among lawmakers and staff.

Members of Parliament and support staff have been infected with the coronavirus, which had already forced lawmakers to limit their assembly meetings and reduce Parliamentary staff levels to 20%.

The Officer of the Clerk of Parliament in a communication sent out to all Members of Parliament in a letter dated June 22, 2021 announced on Tuesday that the legislature would be in recess until July to make way for “disinfection and sanitisation of the premises”.

“You will recall that the Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament adjourned the House sine die on Monday, 14″ June, 2021,” reads the letter, adding that:

“Parliament of Uganda like the rest of the country has been affected by the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic with a positivity rate of 17.1%.

“As a mitigating measure in the prevention of the COVID-19 infection, the Administration of Parliament in consultation with the Office of the Speaker is closing Parliament to Hon. Members of Parliament for a period of two weeks in order to disinfect the Parliamentary Buildings”

“This notice will take effect from Monday, 28th June, 2021 to Sunday, 11th July”.

One of the National news newspapers had on Tuesday cited unidentified political sources saying Speaker Jacob Oulanyah was being treated for COVID-19 on a ventilator, adding that “he is in critical condition”.

However, Parliament’s Director, Communication and Public Affairs Chris Obore in a statement denied that, saying the Speaker “is making some time to be with his family”.

“This has been enabled by the new schedule of work at Parliament, where the Rt. Hon. Speaker and the Rt. Hon. Deputy Speaker take turns to conduct House business,” Obore said.

Obore added that Parliament is, from the top leadership, scaling down physical presence at work in line new Presidential on Covid19 containment rules.

He added:” The Rt. Hon. Speaker advises the general public to observe the SOPs and keep safe”.

Social gatherings such as funerals, weddings and parties are banned while beaches, night clubs, cinemas and pubs continue to remain shut.

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