Tanzanian President Says A Papaya Tested Positive For COVID-19, Among Other Unverified Claims

Tanzanian President John Magufuli claimed earlier this Sunday that the number of coronavirus cases in his African nation was grossly inflated -- arguing that the tests were flawed because he secretly tested a papaya which delivered a positive result. Currently, Tanzania has 480 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 18 deaths.

According to The Daily Monitor, Magufuli stated that he believed the true number of patients with the coronavirus was much lower than reported and that there had been "sabotage" at the national laboratory.

Magufuli bolstered his argument by claiming that he had secretly tested a number of objects, including a papaya, a goat, a quail, and vehicle oil. The testing kits allegedly reported that all but the vehicle oil had the disease.

"That means there is possibility for technical errors or these imported reagents have issues. Probably, the technicians are also bought to mislead," Magufuli claimed in a speech broadcasted on state television.

"The equipment or people may be compromised and sometimes it can be sabotage," Magufuli said.

It should be noted that the coronavirus has been known to infect pets, raising the possibility that the animals could have legitimately been affected.

However, Magufuli maintained that the result was indicative of "dirty games," and even urged Minister for Constitution and Legal Affairs Mwigulu Nchemba to "go and investigate if there is criminal possibility at the national laboratory and take action."

Children waving the Tanzanian flag
Getty Images | Chris Jackson
Children waving the Tanzanian flag

The accusations come as the Tanzanian president has come under intense criticism for what many in his country have seen as a disastrous approach to combating the virus. Three MPs have passed away in the space of 11 days, and though no official reason had been given for their deaths, many believe that it was due to COVID-19 after it was reported that an MP had tested positive for the virus in April.

As a result, lawmakers were ordered to self-isolate and parliament was closed.

However, the rest of the country has not followed suit. Though schools have been shut down, markets, bus stops, and shops remain open and busy. Moreover, Magufuli urged citizens to continue attending their church or mosque services.

The remarks are not the only recent eye-raising claims that the president has made. Magufuli made a declaration that he plans to import a tonic from Madagascar that has been hailed as a "cure" for the coronavirus, per the BBC.

The World Health Organization has already hit back at claims of the all-curing potion, announcing that it highly urged against "self-medication with any medicines... as a prevention or cure for COVID-19."

In other news on the coronavirus, the Department of Homeland Security recently issued a brutal report that claimed China had purposefully misled the global community about the severity of the virus in order to "hoard" medical supplies for its population, as was previously reported by The Inquisitr.