Parly Sittings Go Virtual After 8 MPs Test Covid-19 Positive

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By Anna Chibamu

PARLIAMENT is planning to have virtual sittings when conducting its business to help curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This was confirmed by Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda.

He said the decision had been brought up after eight MPs last month tested positive to coronavirus.

Chokuda said in future, all parliamentary debates will be carried out virtually in different rooms at the Parliament building while other MPs will be in their hotel rooms to avoid physical contact and help in the fight against the spread of the virus.

In an interview with the national broadcaster ZTV Tuesday evening, the Clerk of Parliament confirmed that eight MPs tested positive to the virus and all were recovering from home.

“So far eight members have tested positive to Covid-19. They are on isolation at home recovering,” he said.

“As Parliament, we are planning to reduce the number of MPs in the House of Assembly and Senate during sittings so we will partially go virtual. Members will be in different rooms at Parliament Building. Some will participate whilst in their hotel rooms.

“Parliament has acquired tablets for MPs to make sure we reduce printing costs and we expect that this will make it easier for the members when we go virtual,” said Chokuda.

However, some legislators are still experiencing challenges in using their gadgets and they have also complained of poor internet connection in Parliament.

The House of Assembly resumed sitting Tuesday after a month’s break, but business was immediately adjourned to 1 September.

From this week until September, all MPs and supporting staff will undergo PCR testing before business commences.

MDC Alliance MP, Ruth Labode, who is the Health and Child Care Parliamentary portfolio committee chairperson confirmed last month she had contracted the virus and was self-isolating.