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Ministers, MPs who evaded COVID-19 quarantine tasked to ‘come out’

Uganda’s parliament

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A taskforce on coronavirus set up by Parliament has appealed to Ministers and legislators who recently travelled out of Uganda to come out and test for COVID-19 as a way of stopping the spread of the deadly virus.

The team which also includes members of the parliamentary commission was today addressing a press conference at Parliament, defending a decision not to close Parliament amid a threat that is paralyzing almost all sectors of the economy.

The MPs say that they have reliable information that some Ministers and Members travelled abroad and only returned recently but were not quarantined yet they continue to move out in the public.

On Tuesday evening, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga barred four MPs from accessing Parliament and directed them to self-quarantine after it emerged that they had travelled to Dubai and Kenya in recent weeks. These included Robert Kafeero Ssekitoleko, Cissy Namujju, Emmanuel Ssempala Kigozi and John Bagoole.

Esther Anyakun, the Nakapiripirit Woman MP says that the government and the task force are scrutinizing all the people who travelled including MPs and Ministers and their spouses. She says that they are working with Entebbe airport authorities to retrieve names of persons who traveled abroad and returned but evaded the quarantine.

During a cabinet sitting on Monday, President Yoweri Museveni reportedly sent away Ministers Sarah Opendi and Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi whose spouses had reportedly been abroad. Reports indicate that some Ministers passed through the VIP section with their families and have not been quarantined.

Parliamentary commissioner Arinaitwe Rwakajara says that it was a mistake for the MPs and Ministers to pass through the airport without undergoing all the procedures that were set aside to tame coronavirus. However, he adds, the committee is working tirelessly to make things rights.

Uganda has so far registered 14 cases of coronavirus disease COVID-19 including an 8-month-old baby whose father had recently travelled to Kisumu, Kenya. 435,000 cases worldwide have so far tested positive for coronavirus, while 19,600 have died. The recovery rate is however stagnant at 111,000.

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