As the rest of the world hustle and hassle to get COVID-19 vaccines for their population, East African country, Tanzania has underplayed the seriousness of the virus and has resorted to the miraculous footprints of prayers. Albeit, the pandemic has not stopped preying on its citizens.
President John Magufuli, known to be one of Africa’s strongest voices has spoken in hushed tones about the rising rate of virus infection in the country, and called for more prayers as the cure.
For more than six months, Tanzania has told the world that prayers cure coronavirus, and has refused to take adequate measures against the it.
In recent times, reality has taken a more severe turn with deaths linked to pneumonia recorded in the country. Experts believe the pneumonia said to be behind the recent fatalities is actually COVID-19.
Medical doctors in the country have been warned against talking about the presence of the disease publicly, while majority of them prefer to remain anonymous as they deliver their medical verdicts. The disease remains present in Tanzania, and prayers have not cured it.
The last time Tanzania gave figures of the disease was in April 2020, with Magufuli triviliasing it by claiming goats, and pawpaw tested positive for the virus too.
The Africa Centre for Disease Control has called for a careful review of the Tanzanian situation while asking citizens to engage in self–protection.
In June 2020, Magufuli said prayers had delivered the country from the pandemic.
“That’s why we are all not wearing face masks here. You think we don’t fear dying? It’s because there is no Covid-19,” he said.
Researchers in Denmark have discovered the deadly and highly infectious South African variant of the virus in two Tanzanians who arrived Europe from their home country, but back home, Magufuli is in denial of the virus.
Families of dead patients have claimed that the nation is not taking the virus seriously, as the South African variant of the virus gets more devastating in Tanzania.
Despite the President’s stance, the Roman Catholic Church in Tanzania has warned its members against following Magufuli’s prayer posture.
“Our country is not an island. We have every reason to take precautions and pray to God so that we can move unscathed in this pandemic,” the letter addressed to archbishops and retired bishops read.
Many cases are being secretly recorded on a daily basis and the African CDC is also wary of the dangers of taking the disease like a pinch of salt as the Tanzanian government has done.
Magufuli has softened on his previous prayer stance as reality dawns on the country. While accusing some citizens of bringing the disease into the country, he has called on locals to take precautions while waiting for God’s help.
“We need to put God first in fighting against this dangerous disease, but at the same time take health precaution measures to protect ourselves,” he said.
Tanzania has announced 509 cases, with its last count made in April last year. It has recorded 21 deaths from the numbers recorded and the Africa CDC has placed a special focus on the situation in the country.
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