Virus panic … Two MPs, a journalist and a driver have tested positive for Covid-19

Parliament was suspended on Monday after two Members of Parliament, a journalist and a driver tested positive for Covid-19.

Speaker of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda, in a statement, said Parliament would adjourn indefinitely from Tuesday to allow for “deep-cleaning and disinfection of the Parliament building and contact tracing and testing of those who came into contact with the affected Member of Parliament.”

“It is with a heavy heart that Parliament announces the suspension of most of its business due to exposure of some members of Parliament to Covid-19. As at this morning, only two Members of Parliament had been confirmed positive. A driver from one of our service providers and a journalist who were part of the team also tested positive. Our thoughts and prayers are with the affected and their families,” Chokuda announced.

Chokuda said the two MPs were part of a group of lawmakers who were recently “on field visits around the country,” without stating the nature of the programme, although ZimLive understands they are both members of the portfolio committee on transport.

“Everyone who was part of that team is now in self-quarantine in line with the ministry of health and child care guidelines,” Chokuda added.

The outbreak will raise questions about how Parliament has handled its business as the virus spread, amid criticism that authorities risked public health.

Side-stepping public health concerns, Parliament late last month pushed ahead with public consultations on the Constitutional Amendment Bill which gives President Emmerson Mnangagwa sweeping new powers.

The Bill was tabled in parliament on July 9.

Zimbabwe reported 78 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, pushing the total cases to date to 2,512. Of the 78, the ministry of health said 74 were local transmissions – pointing to the rapid spread of the virus in the local population.-zimlive