Parliament has on Thursday come up with drastic measures in a bid to prevent the contraction and spread of heavily contagious Coronavirus.
House Speaker Rebecca Kadaga in a plenary sitting on Thursday told legislators that the Chambers which are meant for only members is unprecedentedly going to be vacated for weeks or even months.
Plenary business is from next week going to be conducted from the Conference Hall, which is ordinarily accessed by everyone in the building.
“Members since people are not supposed to be near each other, we shall move to the Conference Hall to protect ourselves from Coronavirus. Clerk is directed to make the arrangements,” said Kadaga.
World Health Organization is advocating for no body contact and social distancing of at least 1.5 meters.
The House is critically entering the budget phase which is constitutionally time bound and cannot be postponed. Kadaga noted that the budget should not be interrupted.
Personal visitors checking on MPs and staff have been stopped with immediate effect. Parliament accommodates hundreds of visitors daily including school pupils and students from various schools, petitioners from across the country and others.
Non critical staffs including those from forums and interns have also been from entering Parliament until the situation gets better.
President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday came out with 13 measures including shutting of schools, churches, mosques and all places of worship, political and cultural gatherings and others for 32 days.
The World has by Thursday 4:40 registered 227,677 cases Coronavirus from just over 198,000 cases the previous day. Fatality has meanwhile increased from 9% to 10% standing at 9,303 on Thursday against the recovered figure of 85,971.
Since it is budget process period and legislators are interacting officials from Ministries, departments, agencies and organisations coming before committees will be limited to four, while Parliament will also ensure that the transactions are mostly electronic instead of physical interaction with people.
Parliament has also nominated a five team taskforce to join the National Taskforce on coronavirus including; Commissioner of Parliament Arinaitwe Rwakajara, Commissioner Francis Mwijukye, MP Esther Anyakun, Ayivu County MP Benard Atiku, the Sergeant-at-Arms Ahmed Kagoye and the Parliament Doctor.
- We are limiting visits and suspending all tours of Parliament for the next 30 days.
- The Parliament Gym shall remain closed for the next 30 days
- We are limiting the number of persons interfacing with Committees of Parliament to four (04) that is, the Minister, Permanent Secretary and two officials.
- There shall be temperature guns stationed at all floors of Parliament.
- More sanitizers shall be provided in all entrances and offices at Parliament
- Effective Friday, 20 March 2020, all Interns, Personal Assistants, Staff of the various Parliamentary Fora, are suspended. This shall stay in force for 30 days.
- Parliament is considering vacating the current Chamber and use the Conference Hall, which is more spacious, for debates.
- The Parliament canteen will strictly be accessed by MPs and staff.
- There will be no personal visitors coming to Parliament.
- Parliament will scale down on none critical staff who will be advised to work from home.