Tanzania revisists COVID-19 stance

07Apr 2021
By Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Tanzania revisists COVID-19 stance

TANZANIA is set to take a new direction in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic after President Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday said she was forming a team of experts to brainstorm on the way forward.

Speaking after swearing in newly-appointed top ministerial officials at the State House in Dar es Salaam, she expressed the intention to constitute a committee of experts grouping health sector professionals who will looks at the issue and chart out a path for the country.

“On Covid-19, I think I should form a committee of experts to look at it professionally and then advise the government,” emphasizing that Tanzania cannot isolate itself as if it was an island, while reiterating that the country can’t just accept everything coming from the outside.

“We cannot continue just reading about COVID-19 worldwide and for Tanzania it is all blank,” she asserted, describing the situation as incomprehensible,” she said.

The president said Tanzania needs to have a clear and understandable position regarding the pandemic so that it can make informed decisions. Tanzania cannot rely on outside reports on the state of the pandemic while it has no such report, she stated.

“We don’t have to remain silent. We cannot refuse or agree without doing any scientific research. We need to have our own understanding of where we stand on the issue of Covid-19,” she stressed.

The new team will also advise the government on the potential benefits or risks the country faces for opening its borders and tourist destinations at a time when most countries closed their borders due to the pandemic.

Tanzania last released data on COVID-19 in May last year, where it was at that time affirmed that the country had 509 such cases, and since then government privileged the view that the country was largely free of COVID-19, and encouraged herbal remedies such as steam therapy in case of infection.

The government had also ruled out procuring vaccines despite the insistence of the World Health Organization (WHO) that the jab was necessary to curb the spread of the virus.

WHO urged Tanzanians to ramp up public health measures against COVID-19, reassuring skeptical opinion in Africa and abroad that vaccines work.