President John Magufuli has declared Tanzania coronavirus-free despite concerns that the infection rate in the country is worse than the government would admit.
Addressing worshippers in the capital, Dodoma on Sunday, Magufuli who had always justified his country’s approach to fighting the coronavirus outbreak attributed the country’s coronavirus-free status to God’s intercession.
“I want to thank Tanzanians of all faiths. We have been praying and fasting for God to save us from the pandemic that has afflicted our country and the world. But God has answered us.
“I believe, and I’m certain that many Tanzanians believe, that the corona disease has been eliminated by God,” he told the worshippers.
Magufuli was criticized heavily last month on the continent and outside, for his continuous expression of skepticism about the country’s numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases.
He went as far as alleging that “probably, the technicians are also bought to mislead.”
Magufuli also refused to institute a lockdown in the country as a way of curbing the spread of the virus, stating that “God will help us. We need to work hard, once the other East Africans are done with their lockdown, they will come to us, and we shall still help them with food, we will not against discriminate them.”
According to him, the country has only four coronavirus patients and that Tanzanians must be suspicious of donations amid the coronavirus outbreak.
“We need to be careful because some of these donations to fight coronavirus could be used to transmit the virus. I want to urge you Tanzanians not to accept donations of masks, instead tell the donors to go and use them with their wives and children,” he added.
Tanzania was part of the several African countries that imported the purported COVID-19 herbal cure announced by Madagascar.
The herbal remedy called COVID-Organics and developed by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA), contains Artemisia, a plant used to treat malaria. It is said to give results in seven days and was launched after being tested on 20 people over a period of three weeks.
The World Health Organization (WHO) last month urged caution in consuming the herbal cure.
In a statement, the WHO said: “Africans deserve to use medicines tested to the same standards as people in the rest of the world. Even if therapies are derived from traditional practice and natural, establishing their efficacy and safety through rigorous clinical trials is critical.”