Tanzania‘s president John Magufuli is eager to woo tourists after declaring the country “coronavirus-free.” His pronouncement is not based on science, but rather prayers offered by citizens.
He assured prospective tourists that they will return to their home countries healthy.
At a gathering at his official residence in the capital, Dodoma, on Monday, he declared: “People are finally finding out the truth that we are safe in Tanzania. You should talk about this, our enemies will not stop talking but we are safe in Tanzania. Look, no one here is wearing a mask.
“It is because we are safe, you think we are not afraid to die? But coronavirus is faraway from us. We eliminated it. We prayed, put God first and he heard us. So Tanzania is safe and you should continue saying that, so tourists should come to see our wildlife and no doubt they will return home healthy”.
President Magufuli is not alone in his supposed disregard for the threat Covid-19 poses. President Trump and President Jair Bolsonaro of the US and Brazil respectively have also through their action and inaction left many worried in addition to claims their response led to needles deaths and exacerbation of Covid-19 infections in their countries.
While the above countries release their infection count, deaths and recoveries, “the Tanzanian authorities have not released official figures on the extent of the outbreak there since the start of May.” It may account for the false hope the president and people have about their safety.
As at April 29, there were 509 cases, with 21 deaths in Tanzania. The World Health Organization (WHO) is worried about Tanzania’s strategy.
On the back of claims “the corona disease has been eliminated thanks to God,” Mr. Magufuli has urged for services in churches and mosques to be held.
Worrisomely, priest and worshippers do not wear gloves and masks to protect themselves as also practiced by other segments of the society.