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COVID-19 hits Parliament hard?

COVID-19 hits Parliament hard?

Parliament of Zimbabwe is said to have recorded high numbers of COVID-19 infections in the past week, as the country battles the Omicron variant.

Although specific numbers have not been given, Norton legislator Temba Mliswa told the National Assembly a few days ago that about 50% of Parliament staff is down with the virus.

However, the Acting Speaker on the day denied the statistics from Honourable Mliswa, although he could not give counter figures.

The rise in cases forced the National Assembly to speedily pass the Appropriation 2022 Bill and the Finance 2022 Bill and then adjourn.

In a memo to all members and staff of Parliament, the acting clerk of Parliament Helen Dingane confirmed that cases have gone up at Parliament.

‘’Parliament of Zimbabwe has not been spared with the highest cases of infection recorded within the institution in the past three days among staff.

‘’Undoubtedly, the numbers would significantly increase it all Members of Parliament were also subjected to compulsory testing.

‘’The high number of positive cases is slowly but surely crippling the operations of Parliament. Urgent mitigatory measures need to be taken to protect the health of both members and staff who remain at the mercy of the new variant if business continues as usual,’’ Dingane said in the memo.

According to Dingane, the remaining plenary meetings should be held virtually in a bid to minimise transmission of the virus.

‘’To this end, the Honourable Speaker of Parliament has directed that given the continued increase in the cases of infection with the majority of the new infections being attributed to localised transmission, plenary sittings are to be held virtually for the time being while we continue to monitor the situation.

‘’The only urgent business at the moment is the passage of the 2022 National Budget…,’’ the memo added.

This is not the first time that COVID-19 cases have forced Parliament to adjourn, as it was forced to do so in February when some members and Parliament staff tested positive while out on Committee business.

COVID-19 hits Parliament hard?

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