Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu to form COVID-19 taskforce


Tanzania's President Samia Suluhu to form COVID-19 taskforce
File image of Tanzania's President Samia Suluhu. PHOTO| COURTESY

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu has announced that she will form a COVID-19 taskforce to guide her administration on the status of the pandemic in the country.

In a move seen as a shift from the hardline position taken by her predecessor the late President John Magufuli, Suluhu said the country cannot isolate itself from what is happening across the world.

“Hatuwezi kujitenga kama kisiwa na hatuwezi kupokea tu yanayoletwa bila kuweka cha kwetu, bila kufanya utafiti wa kwetu. Rais (Jakaya) Kikwete alituambia akili za kuambiwa… kwa hivyo tuweke na zetu, tuwe na msimamo maalum ambao unaeleweka,” said Suluhu.

She said Tanzania will have to take a clear position on the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Tueleweke kama tunakubali ama tunakataa… sio kusoma taarifa za hali ya corona huko duniani wakati Tanzania hakuna taarifa zozote. Lazima Tanzania ieleweke iko wapi,” added Suluhu.

She was speaking during the swearing-in ceremony of the newly appointed government officials at the State House, Dar es Salaam.

Tanzania stopped issuing COVID-19 updates in May 2020. At the time, it had recorded a total of 509 cases and 21 deaths.

The late President Magufuli played down the threat of COVID-19 in Tanzania and scoffed at global panic.

He urged Tanzanians to put faith in prayer and homespun remedies such as steam inhalation rather than vaccines, which he said were dangerous and part of a western conspiracy.

 

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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