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Publicizing COVID-19 results will fuel stigmatization – Oquaye

The Speaker of Parliament, Prof Mike Oquaye has described as unacceptable what he terms as the unilateral declaration of COVID-19 results of persons in public.

According to him, individuals including MPs must stop such acts.

The Speaker’s comments come at a time when there are contradictions from the leadership of Parliament on the true state of the number of persons who are COVID-19 positive following last week’s testing exercise in the House.

The Minority Chief Whip, Mubarak Mohammed Muntaka, had earlier insisted that two of his fellow Members of Parliament (MPs) and 13 parliamentary staff have tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease also known as COVID-19.

“What happened in Parliament and what you heard [about reports of MPs testing positive] is the fact. It is the truth,” Mr. Muntaka said.

Speaking to the issue in the House on Wednesday, Prof. Oquaye said such sensationalism fuels stigmatization.

“It is very clear from our discussions this morning that you cannot unilaterally put into the public realm that a person is positive. Every person knows this in this Republic and it has been well stated in this honourable House. You cannot unilaterally put into the public realm that a person is positive.”

“It is only for an individual to voluntarily put this in the public realm and we are all learning from this as decent and honourable people and this House will follow that kind of example. That’s our public duty…We should show that we are not in a hurry to disclose names worthy of a headline and it is my view that such sensationalism which is going on must stop because they rather encourage stigmatization. When you sensationalize the news, you encourage stigmatization,” the Speaker of Parliament said.

The Director of Medical Services in Parliament, Dr. Prince Pambo has said the results of the tests will not be made public.

He said the results will instead be made known individually to the persons tested without the involvement of Parliament.

“The exercise was meant not only for Members of Parliament but the staff of Parliament as well and other support staff who have a duty in the parliamentary precinct and the results will be made known to them individually,” he said.



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