Editorial: No need for legislators to hide COVID-19 status

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If it is indeed true that some MPs, staff and journalists who have tested positive for the virus are still reporting to work, then we have a major problem on our hands. This is because as leaders, they are sending the wrong signals to the populace.

There are many who doubt the reality of the deadly virus and just write it off as another scare-mongering tactic, that is why the recalcitrant attitude of some of our legislators leaves much to be desired.

Indeed, the Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Josephine Nkrumah believes Members of Parliament who have contracted COVID-19 should be arrested if they insist on coming to the chamber.

It is fair game because the President on Sunday announced that it is now mandatory for everyone to wear face-masks, failure to adhere would attract sanctions. Why then should legislators, who enact laws on behalf of the populace should be exempt when they are deliberately flouting the WHO directive to test and isolate when found positive.

They should recognize that their actions are likely to negatively affect others since they have the propensity to spread the virus with those they come into contact with. As opinion leaders, we expect quite a lot from our law-makers and this development leaves a sour taste in the mouths of many.

Mrs Nkrumah says it is irresponsible for legislators with the virus to continue to endanger the lives of others and we totally agree with her. In fact, this action of theirs has caused the Africa Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA) to state that Parliament has failed to provide leadership in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

In a crisis like this, the least expected from officialdom is to provide the leadership required to scale the pandemic, not to be a vector for transmission. We consequently pray the Speaker to insist on Parliamentarians to do the right thing and isolate when proved positive through testing so that they can receive the medical attention.

Testing positive for COVID-19 is not a crime just like the President indicated in his 11th address to the nation on COVID-19 updates. Living in denial only goes to exacerbate stigmatization because when the truth comes to light, you’ll be scorned.

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