Speaker Advises MPs To Avoid Handshaking In Chamber

The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, has urged Members of Parliament (MPs) to avoid shaking hands as part of efforts to prevent an outbreak of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.

He has also directed the Clerk of Parliament and other relevant officials of the legislative body to acquire thermal thermometers to screen both MPs and people who visit the House on a daily basis.

“We don’t want problems for ourselves in this country. The transmission has been identified particularly with handshaking and using the hands on the face. Let us treat it with the seriousness it deserves,” he advised.

Screening MPs, visitors

Addressing the House prior to the commencement of business in the Chamber yesterday, Prof. Oquaye told the MPs that sanitisers had been installed at vantage points and encouraged them to take advantage of them to stop the spread of the disease.

“We are all advised accordingly,” he said, and urged the Clerk of Parliament to take urgent action to ensure that there were additional temperature recorders to take the temperatures of both MPs and people who visited the Chamber daily.

“In fact, while we are still in the Chamber, relevant officials should act on this even before we leave here,” he directed.

Additional measures

Responding to the advice, the Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Muntaka Mohammed-Mubarak, expressed appreciation to the Speaker and urged his colleague MPs to use the sanitisers as they walked in and out of the Chamber.

He asked if the Office of the Speaker, through the Clerk of Parliament, could take additional measures for the House to have temperature recorders at the entrance to the Chamber to “check the temperature of people who are visiting us”.

“Mr Speaker, I believe that this could be done to members too — every morning our temperatures should be taken, so that at least we will avoid the situation where infections could be spread within the Chamber,” he said.

Advice by Health Minister

When the Minister of Heath, Mr Kwaku Agyeman Manu, appeared before Parliament on March 4, this year to brief legislators on the preparedness of the country to respond to any potential outbreak of the COVID-19, he specifically advised Ghanaians to do away with the culture of handshaking.

That, he said, was one of the surest ways to curtail the rapid spread of the disease in the event of an outbreak in the country.