TANZANIA. Dodoma: President Jonh Magufuli of Tanzania on February 19 admitted, though indirectly, about the existence of COVID-19.
During a funeral of his Chief Secretary broadcasted on national television, Magufuli, talked of an unspecified, ” respiratory illness” which is troubling the country.
He then called for a three-day period of fasting and prayer.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Magufuli has always lived in denial, arguing that there is no covid 19 in Tanzania after the pandemic was “defeated”.
He advised the citizens of Tanzania to take precautionary measures such as keeping social distance and wearing face masks, but further warned that only “locally manufactured face masks should be recommended”.
Magufuli had earlier criticised COVID-19 vaccines as a tool by western elements to confuse Africans.
There have been no official figures of the pandemic since April, the current infections pegged at 509, dating back to last year.
The death of the Chief Secretary to his government and that of the Vice president for the Island of Zanzibar has fueled speculations that COVID-19 fatalities could be higher than officially portrayed.
Both the Vice president and the Chief Secretary died of COVID-19.
The admission by Magufuli made the Director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Gebreysus make a fresh call to the East African nation to take the disease seriously on February 20.
Both the WHO and the Catholic church have earlier expressed dissatisfaction over Dodoma’s handling of the pandemic.
All of Tanzania’s neighbouing countries such as Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, and Kenya had admitted being hit by the pandemic, enforcing strict covid 19 prevention measures like a ban on large gatherings and unnecessary travel.