Tanzania is among the few countries around the globe that has decided to keep its covid cases a secret. The last time it reported its cases was in May, when about 500 people had contracted the virus. The state’s decision to keep its affairs concealed has, however, drawn a lot of concern. Many are worried and eager to know if indeed the pandemic has taken a toll on the state.
Covid-19 in Tanzania
When coronavirus first emerged, Tanzania’s President, Mr. Magufuli, was reluctant to adopt the stringent measures. He confidently addressed his nationalities, saying Tanzania was no place for the virus and urged them to go about their daily activities. On several occasions, sources would quote the President claiming that Tanzania was covid free.
Primary measures like masking, sanitizing, and social distancing was not Tanzania’s culture, especially when the virus was declared a pandemic. Recently, all has not been well in Tanzania. The President, who initially was reluctant, is now encouraging Tanzanians to wear masks to avoid contracting the virus.
Sources reported that it was on Sunday when he delivered the speech. While encouraging people to wear masks, he cautioned them against using the imported masks, claiming they were not safe. But instead, rely on the locally available ones.
Controversies Surrounding Covid in Tanzania
At the onset of this month, Tanzania’s Minister for Health President Magufuli had initially declined measures to curb the virus. Tanzania is among the few states not endorsing COVID-19 Vaccine. Meanwhile, amidst all the ignorance and negligence, the virus continues to spread. So far, many Tanzanian leaders have succumbed because of the virus. And it is quite unfortunate their head of state is still skeptical about it.
John Kijazi, former head of civil service, is among the government officials who succumbed to the virus. However, it has not been confirmed that he succumbed because of the virus. The vice president of Tanzania’s semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar, Seif Sharif Hamad, died on Wednesday after contracting the virus. Mr. Hamad, being a prominent leader, was also the most transparent leader to share his covid status.
With the new covid-19 variant making rounds, all countries are just responsible for taking necessary precautions. More so as the virus is endemic. Tanzania is endangering neighboring countries as it continues to treat the virus with seriousness.
World Health Organization Concerned
WHO has called on the Tanzanian government to share its data regarding coronavirus. Tedros Adhanom, director-general of WHO, shared his concern while pouring out his condolences to Tanzania, having lost their prominent government officials.
“We extend our condolences to our Tanzanian sisters and brothers on the recent passing of a senior Tanzanian leader as well as the government’s chief secretary.”
Mr. Tedros went ahead to urge Tanzanians to report covid cases in their country. Meanwhile, it’s unfortunate that as Magufuli claims there is no covid, Tanzanians traveling out of the country have confirmed testing positive for the virus. It is about time that Tanzania takes robust action to safeguard its people and other populations at large, for covid-19 isn’t a scam.