After having downplayed the impact of COVID 19 in his country for months, Tanzania’s president, John Magafuli, has urged citizens to take preventive measures against the coronavirus. Magafuli had previously claimed it had been eradicated.
Al Jazeerah reports that speaking during a Sunday mass in Dodoma, President John Magufuli urged citizens to take precautions and to wear face masks, albeit only locally made ones. Magufuli had on several occasions during the pandemic expressed suspicion regarding foreign-produced goods.
Tanzania’s health ministry subsequently issued a statement calling for face masks to worn, and for people to wash their hands to prevent the spread of the virus.
Several Tanzanians travelling outside of the country had reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting World Health Organization chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to urge Tanzania to take “robust action” to tackle the outbreak. Magafuli’s announcement followed the WHO chief’s request.
According to Al Jazeerah, Zanzibar, which is partially governed by Tanzania, recently buried its vice president, Seif Sharif Hamad. Hamad had been infected by the coronavirus. Magufuli’s chief secretary also died in recent days, although the cause of his death is as yet unknown. Magufuli, at his funereal, had urged Tanzanians to pray regarding the vague “respiratory” illnesses that were afflicting the country.
Tanzania has not updated its number of coronavirus infections since April 2020.
Umm Muhammed Umar