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Speaker says two MPs infected with Covid-19

Tuesday June 30 2020
MPs

Parliament during a past session. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By SAMWEL OWINO

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has confirmed that two members of the House have been confirmed to be Covid-19 positive.

Speaker Muturi in a communication to the House Tuesday said one member has already been discharged from the hospital after testing negative in repeated tests and is currently in self-quarantine in his house.

The other lawmaker was, as at yesterday, in a stable condition and had been transferred to the general ward.

The names of the two lawmakers were however not made public nor the hospital where they are receiving treatment. Speaker Muturi maintained that medical details of individuals MPs included are confidential and should be treated as such.

“I wish to note that far from the speculations reported in the media and elsewhere, information available to the office of the Speaker indicates that we have two cases of the virus that have been reported among Members of Parliament. I have deliberately given this information to reassure the public and dissuade the ongoing speculation,” Mr Muturi said in reference to media reports that six MPs were infected.

“The media should stop sensationalising the cases in Parliament as though these cases are any different from the rest of the cases in the country,” he said. "Going forward, we will endeavour to ensure that Parliament and all the users are safe-guarded from the disease through continuous collaboration with the Ministry of Health”.

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The National Assembly has developed stringent guidelines to safeguard members against the virus. Apart from requiring lawmakers to sanitise and observe social distancing, the main chamber, which normally holds 349 MPs, now holds only 70 lawmakers. This is so as to meet the 1.5 metres social distance requirement.

The 70 seats in the chamber have been marked and every seat has been given a number. Once in the chamber, MPs are not allowed to change seats or move close to one another, the Speaker or the clerks for whatever reason.

Upon vacation of a seat by a member, prompt disinfection of the seat, table, electronic system, microphones and the chamber tablet is undertaken by the relevant officers before the seat is occupied again.

The public galleries and diplomatic box are currently only being occupied by technical staff facilitating the sittings.

The Speaker designated the two members’ lounges and the dining hall as waiting areas to accommodate other MPs interested in participating in the proceedings.

In addition, MPs and parliamentary employees aged 58 and above, those with medical conditions as well as those who are expectant or lactating are working from home since they are more vulnerable.

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