Tanzania finally provides Covid-19 update after much criticised silence
Cape Town – Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa has finally updated the country on its Covid-19 statistics after the government had remained silent on the matter since April 24, news agency Reuters reported.
The lack of transparency on the issue has drawn outrage from opposition parties as well as ordinary Tanzanians on social media, with many speculating on the true number of cases the East African country might have.
Majaliwa did not give the reasons behind the lack of communication, but went on to lament how false statistics incited unrest within the population.
Freeman Mbowe, leader of the official opposition Chadema party, condemned the government's approach to combating the pandemic, calling for "transparency, truth and participation” as the only means to fight Covid-19 and protect Tanzanian citizens.
"We see people dying and their burials are supervised by the government under strict conditions, but yet it is not telling us they died of coronavirus.
"There is no transparency and when people have no information, you provide room for rumours. The government is telling us only 16 died of coronavirus but this is a joke," news agency AFP quoted him as saying.
The World Health Organisation's Africa head, Matshidiso Moeti, warned last week that delays in implementing physical distancing rules in Tanzania, such as barring mass gatherings, may have led to a rise in the country’s case load, Reuters reported.
President John Magufuli has closed schools but left places of worship open, and last month encouraged citizens to pray the virus away.
“This is time to build our faith and continue praying to God and not depending on face masks. Don't stop going to churches and mosques for prayers.
"I'm sure this is just a change of wind and it will go like others have gone," he said during a church service last month, according to AFP.
The latest figures from real-time data portal Worldometer on Thursday showed that Tanzania had 480 confirmed cases of Covid-19. Out of these, 16 people have died, while 167 have recovered from the virus.
African News Agency (ANA)