COVID-19 forces parliament to suspend physical committee meetings

MPs during a parliamentary session./COURTESY

The Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi has suspended physical committee meetings in parliament precincts with immediate effect.

In a statement, Muturi said that he has taken such action as a precautionary measure following the surge of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Muturi said that the meetings will be suspended till the 28th of July when they will be transformed from physical to virtual mode.

“In order to ensure that parliament discharges its mandate, the Executive shall continue to avail its members to parliamentary queries and summons during this period. However, keeping pubic health protocols the executive has established technological infrastructure through staff can attend through virtual means.”Muturi said.

“I hereby direct that all committee sittings be suspended until Tuesday, July 28, 2020. Thereafter committees will operate virtually as per my guidance .”Muturi added

He indicated that the move was also taken after consultation with the head of the public service office to execute committee meetings virtually in a bid to reduce transmission of cases among government employees.

The legislature is taking the precautionary measure following reports that the COVID-19 cases have rocked various ministries and departments in government whereby the National treasury and Huduma center being the worst hit.

However, he pointed that elections of chairpersons and Vice chairpersons of various committees of the National Assembly will go on as planned on July 17th to pave way for fumigation and decontamination of parliamentary precincts as per public health guidelines.

He urged parliamentarians and staff to undergo voluntary testing of the disease and self isolate in case they have come in contact with people who are positive for Coronavirus.

The government organs are employing mechanisms to curb the COVID-19 pandemic including scaling down employees in offices following the fact that the total number of COVID-19 is brimming, hitting 10,791 positive cases nationally,  as close to 400 cases are reported day in day out.