Though much of the world has implemented lockdowns to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, Tanzanian President John Magufuli has “rejected” any suggestions to institute further measures in his country, insisting instead that “God will help us.”
According to Africa News, Magufuli proclaimed his intention to avoid more quarantine actions at a church congregation over the weekend. He also made it clear that he hoped that Tanzania would be able to provide support for other neighboring nations as much of Africa suffers from a food shortage exacerbated by lockdowns.
“There is not going to be any such thing as lockdown in Tanzania, God will help us. We need to work hard, once the other East Africans are done with their lockdown, they will come to us, and we shall still help them with food, we will not against discriminate them,” he said.
That said, there have already been some restrictions placed on Tanzanian citizens due to COVID-19. For example, schools and universities have been closed and there is a ban on mass public gatherings — though reports have suggested that most citizens have ignored the decree.
However, despite these limitations, most working citizens have claimed that their daily lives have been only minimally affected by the virus.
“People continue to crowd into bars and clubs undisturbed. In fact, besides the presence of more hand-washing stations outside businesses and hotels, not much appears to have changed in Tanzania’s daily life,” reported Al Jazeera this past April.
A WEEK in JOHN MAGUFULI’s WORLD: Tz President considers restarting Tanzania Premier League despite Covid-19. Says there’s “sabotage” & people testing Covid-19 positive “may not be sick”. Says he tested a goat, quail, pawpaw, car oil, and they were all positive for coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/Syy05PHXPJ
— Charles Onyango-Obbo (@cobbo3) May 3, 2020
In addition, Magufuli stated that he hoped to ease the minor curtailments already in place, citing the growing number of recoveries seen in hospitals throughout the country. Already, all travel restrictions have been lifted and the African leader also claimed that he hoped to open up academic spaces soon.
“If the trend I am seeing continues in the coming week, I plan to open up universities,” he said.
However, critics have alleged that Magufuli has not been transparent with the true number of coronavirus cases. Tanzania recently stated that 480 people have died from the disease, while the World Health Organization has tallied the fatalities at 509. Meanwhile, opposition leaders have claimed that as many as six times as many people have actually died from the disease, as reported by The Financial Times.
This is not the first time that the Tanzanian president has recently been in the news. He recently accused labs of falsely inflating the number of COVID-19 cases, even claiming that a papaya had tested positive for the disease, as previously reported by The Inquisitr.