25 MPs test positive for Covid-19

MDC MP Dr Ruth Labode (Matabeleland North)

Twenty-five MPs tested positive for Covid-19 in tests done last week, but nine had already tested positive four weeks ago and have been counted as recovered, leading MPs to worry that anti-body presence is leading to false positives.

Matabeleland North MP Dr Ruth Labode yesterday raised a point of privilege on Parliament’s testing and isolation policies.

“My concern is that 25 MPs tested positive and among those, there were about nine or so who had already tested positive four weeks ago and isolated,” she said.

Parliament guidelines require that MPs be tested after every two weeks and those who test positive, will immediately go into isolation for 14 days.

Dr Labode argued that some people who would have earlier tested positive will likely retain a positive result because of the presence of anti-bodies in their systems even though they were no longer infected or infectious and she argued that there was no need to continue isolating such people .

Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda confirmed that 25 MPs had tested positive during last week’s round of testing including those who had tested positive before.

“We have decided that all those who test positive be isolated out of abundance of caution and we will continue following up on them and assisting them,” he said.

The first two legislators to test positive were diagnosed in July and Parliament immediately suspended business for a month and only resumed sitting last week, with the testing of all MPs.

The National Assembly yesterday passed the Attorney-General’s Office Amendment Bill now awaiting debate in Senate.

The Bill seeks to provide for the appointment of deputy Attorneys-General in line with the Constitution to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the Attorney-General’s office.

The Bill also sets out the composition of the AG’s Office Board, which shall be chaired by the AG and bars Government departments from seeking legal advice from private practice without approval from the AG since the AG is the Government’s principal legal adviser in terms of the Constitution.

All legal advisers working for different ministries and departments will fall under the supervision of the AG’s Office in line with his constitutional mandate as the principal Government legal adviser. – Herald