Ugandan legislators, parliamentary staff to take COVID-19 tests

Uganda's Prime Minister, standing center-left, addresses Members of Parliament in Kampala, Uganda Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017. Ugandan police on Thursday fired tear gas to disperse protesters and arrested dozens of people opposed to plans to introduce legislation that could allow the longtime president Yoweri Museveni to extend his rule. (AP Photo/Ronald Kabuubi)
Uganda’s parliament in session on Sept. 21, 2017. The legislative body said Wednesday that all lawmakers and staff will be tested for COVID-19. (Photo via AP Photo/Ronald Kabuubi)

Uganda’s Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga on Wednesday announced that all the 457 legislators and 400 parliamentary staff will start on Thursday to get tested for COVID-19.

“I am glad to inform you that since the ministry of health has completed the screening of all cabinet ministers, mass testing will be done here at the parliament,” Kadaga said in a statement issued by the parliament here.

The testing will be done in clusters to avoid overcrowding, starting with lawmakers, followed by parliamentary staff and service providers.

The parliament said that it has no information regarding a lawmaker who reportedly tested positive for the virus.

“The parliament treats information related to one’s status as a confidential issue until one chooses to reveal it,” said the statement.

Uganda’s parliament has been operating in accordance with the ministry of health’s guidelines, with lawmakers working in shifts outside the parliament building in open-air tents and the majority of staff working from home.

Uganda has so far reported 1,043 cases of COVID-19, 1,004 recoveries but no virus-related deaths, according to the ministry of health.