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Revised protocols in place in the House of Assembly

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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and other MPs escorting Governor General Dame Susan Dougan from the House of Assembly after her Speech from the Throne yesterday.

All MPs, regardless of their immunization status, were required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test in order to enter the halls of the House of Assembly for the presentation of the 2022 budget yesterday.

And beginning with the January 11 sitting and the remainder of the House meeting, all unvaccinated members, as well as members who have been exposed to someone known to be COVID-19 positive are required to test negative at rapid antigen test.

This test must be performed the morning before the sitting of the House, no later than 8:50 a.m. on each subsequent morning of the sitting of the House.

This is described in the most recent revision of the House’s COVID-19 protocols which officially went into effect on January 5.

They have been revised for several reasons: the limited improved ventilation capacity of the chamber and the increasing incidence of COVID-19 in the week beginning January 3, 2022 with the associated increased risk of exposure and the detection of the Omicron variant in SVG.

“A test booth will be set up for the duration of the sessions of the House of Assembly, where (1) any member or person linked to the session can be tested in the event of the development of symptoms suggestive of Covid-19; (2) any member that has been exposed to a person known to be positive for COVID-19 will be tested and (3) rapid antigen tests (as of January 11, 2022) will be administered to unvaccinated members of the House, ”states the revised protocol. .

This test cabin was operational yesterday, Monday January 10 from 2:00 p.m. It will also be operational today, January 11 from 8:00 a.m.

Each member is required to wear an N95 / KN95 face mask at all times when in the Chamber and to disinfect their hands upon entering the Parliamentary Chamber.

Following the presentation of the budget by the Minister of Finance yesterday, the room was disinfected by officials from the Ministry of Health.

And the disinfection of the chamber should take place daily at four hour intervals, as is convenient. Depending on the protocols, this process will take approximately 30 minutes.

A speaking booth was set up in the House of Assembly in October 2021 to facilitate contributions from unvaccinated members or members who have not disclosed their immunization status.

Members of the opposition benches have repeatedly expressed their dissatisfaction with the arrangement and their preference to remain in their respective seats to make contributions during sittings of parliament.

According to the revised protocols, this booth will remain in place and will be available for unvaccinated members to make contributions, regardless of the duration. They are also allowed to remove their masks only when using the speaking booth.

During this time, vaccinated members are allowed to make contributions from their seat and are allowed to remove their masks for the duration of their contribution only.

Media personnel as well as authorized law enforcement officials in and around the House should be fully immunized and masked with an N95 / KN95 mask at all times.

Proof of vaccination must be presented to the Clerk of the House for the attention of the Speaker of the House of Assembly, no later than two days before the sitting.

Restrictions on visitors to the public gallery will continue.