Kampala, Uganda – Several legislators are demanding to be tested for Covid-19 because of their exposure to the public. This comes a few days after government announced plans to test all ministers for Covid-19 given the fact that they have been involved in the interventions to combat the pandemic.
The announcement came shortly after the Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda went into self-isolation after his assistant tested positive for Covid-19. Now, some MPs say they should also be tested since most of them have been running up and down in their constituencies.
Mbwatekamwa Gaffa, the Kasambya County Member of Parliament says many of them are worried that they could be infected since they have been all over the place.
Bernard Atiku, the Ayivu County MP says both the Parliamentary and National Covid-19 Task Forces have recommended periodic Covid-19 tests for all people in Parliament.
Workers MP Sam Lyomoki says there is need for government to develop a strategy of testing groups of people working together.
Bonny Okello, the Kole County MP says there should be compulsory testing of MPs and Ministers for Covid-19 infection.
Hellen Kaweesa, the Acting Director Corporate and Public Affairs in Parliament told URN that the proposal to test the legislators hasn’t come up formally in the house.
“We hope in decisions like this, the Ministry of Health can guide us but for now, no proposal has been made in relation to testing the MPs,” Kaweesa told URN.
However, the Health Ministry Permanent Secretary Dr. Diana Atwine says they are unable to test all MPs because of the costs involved.
She says they decided to test Ministers and journalists because they are more at risk of contracting Covid-19 given their work.
Each testing kit costs Shillings 242,000 (US$ 65), which means government will spend Shillings 19 million to test the 80 ministers alone.
Government would require an additional US$28,990 about Shillings 108 million to test the 446 legislators.