WITH three confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 at Parliament buildings, some staff members there say they should be sent into quarantine, including all members of parliament.
Clerk of the National Assembly Cecilia Nsenduluka Mbewe has written all members of parliament, informing them about three positive COVID-19 cases at the National Assembly Clinic.
“I regret to inform you that three positive cases of COVID-19 involving two staff and one outsider have been recorded at the COVID-19 testing centre at the National Assembly Clinic. This follows voluntary testing by members of staff,” Mbewe’s letter dated June 30, 2020 read.
“Please note that the two members of staff have been quarantined and all those who were in contact with them have been identified and have been subjected to COVID-19 tests in accordance with the health regulations.”
She indicated that in the meantime, measures have been taken to minimise the spread of the coronavirus within the precincts of the National Assembly.
Mbewe further reminded all lawmakers to strictly adhere to the public health guidelines, “as we embrace this new normal”.
Among the public health guidelines she spelt out are social distancing by maintaining a distance of at least one metre from the next person, mandatory wearing of face-masks and frequent washing of hands with soap and water or, in the absence of water, hand-sanitising with an alcohol-based sanitiser.
Other safety measures are avoiding to touch one’s eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands, observing respiratory hygiene, including coughing in a flexed elbow or onto tissue paper and immediately disposing of it properly.
“Further, as a matter of great importance, you are requested to not only report any suspected cases, but also to take advantage of the testing facility at the National Assembly Clinic, even if you have no COVID-19 symptoms,” advised Mbewe.
But staff from Mbewe’s office, who spoke anonymously, said: “The question is ‘why did they even rush to open Parliament, in the first place?”
“It was simply to pass Bill 10! But they are now going to kill our MPs and us! You remember what I told you last time that the desperation among these people is too huge, to pass Bill 10? Their desperation is now going to kill MPs and even us as staff of the National Assembly,” sources said.
“The two who have tested positive have been reporting for work here. Meaning that we have been mingling with them and so we are all scared. Simply because of their desperation to pass Bill 10, they ended up calling [back] MPs.”
They wondered how a decision was made to recall Parliament which was suspended when there were only two positive COVID-19 cases in the country.
“But when cases of the coronavirus were more than a thousand, they decided to call [back] MPs. These people in the PF are just in a hurry to enact Bill 10. Now, look at what is happening! They are risking our lives,” they said.
“I guess you have read that COVID-19 has affected MPs in the Kenya Parliament. But here it’s just deliberate because of PF’s desperation to pass this Bill 10, which even elapsed. They are insisting when they do not even have numbers to support the passing of the same bill.”
The sources regretted that they and members of parliament have now: “been caught in this COVID-19 issue.”
“The opening of Parliament was just rushed. Look, even the precautions for COVID-19 are just this issue of MPs sitting in different rooms. When these MPs came back, there were no sanitisers and thermometers (infrared) at the main gate,” revealed sources.
“So, what was the reason [to open Parliament]? Doesn’t it make you to wonder when you hear that one of the affected patients is an outsider? It simply means that all MPs and most of us are contacts. So, it’s better we are all sent into quarantine, otherwise we’ll be taking the disease to our homes. Under normal circumstances, when these MPs came back, they should have all been tested and put under quarantine. But who was tested? None!”