Tanzania becomes the first coronavirus free country in Africa

Tanzanian President John Magufuli has announced that thanks to God’s intervention the country is free from coronavirus. A few days ago, speaking at a church service in Dodoma, he thanked the congregation for not wearing face-masks. He has described it as an indicator of progress in combating the scourge.

He has criticized his critics in recent days. They have been described by Magufuli as inept for leading the nation, especially during these dire times. This is thus underlining his successes after he ascended to leadership. His dedication and foresight has helped the Tanzania escape major catastrophes, including the outbreaks of Zika and Ebola, according to the president.

“When I came to power they said we have cases of the Zika virus and I fired the person who announced that . . . Since I fired him five years ago, Tanzania has not had cases of Zika. Then they said we have Ebola knowing that tourists will not come to a country which has Ebola and people will not work here if there is Ebola.”

The bold coronavirus announcement by the president was accompanied by an economic reopening that included lifting restrictions on flights. As such, the nation’s airports are now open to domestic and international flights, both scheduled and unscheduled. In addition, Tanzania has sent a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner to repatriate stranded Indian people.

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Non-governmental health organizations have criticized the Government for hiding the severity of the country’s coronavirus pandemic. The Government has refused to release any pandemic-related statistics. The move has prompted major international organizations, including the United States embassy, to issue a travel advisory warning citizens against traveling to Tanzania.

The consulate has also advised Americans in the country to take precautionary steps while out and about as the healthcare centers in the country are overwhelmed with patients with coronavirus. Tanzanian ministers, as well as the president, rejected the declarations. He has dismissed the report as fallacious while emphasizing that hospital beds are empty across the country.

A slew of major international airline companies have already begun scheduling flights to Tanzania. They include Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airlines, Emirates, Flydubai and Ethiopian Airlines. In light of the new development, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Mr. Akbar Al Baker offered the following comment.

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“Our wide network of flights during these challenging times has ensured we have kept up to date with the latest in international airport procedures and implemented the most advanced safety and hygiene measures on board our aircraft and in Hamad International Airport.”

Tanzania and its neighboring nations, Kenya and Rwanda, have been struggling to work out the difficulties of conducting trade during a pandemic. A small number of Tanzanian truck drivers found to have COVID-19 had to turn away, both from Kenya and Rwanda.

As long as the drivers pass a COVID-19 test, cargo trucks are allowed in. The situation has led to the stranding of many Tanzanian transport trucks at the frontiers.

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