East Africa

Tanzanian president urges citizens to wear face masks as COVID bites hard

Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Sunday urged the public to continue taking preventive measures against the COVID-19 pandemic as directed by health experts, including wearing face masks.

Speaking after he attended the Sunday church prayers in the capital Dodoma, Magufuli said the government has not prevented people from wearing masks as one of the preventive steps against the viral disease.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Directorate of Presidential Communications at State House, said the president encouraged the use of locally made face masks.

At the same time, the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, released a statement also urging people to continue taking precautions against the deadly disease.

The statement issued by the ministry’s head of public relations unit, Gerard Chami, a few hours after President Magufuli urged people to wear face masks, said the ministry was continuing to monitor the situation.

The turnaround comes three days after the death of Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad, the first vice president of Tanzania’s semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar. He had succumbed to the coronavirus.

Magufuli has declared the East African nation free of Covid-19 while shunning lockdowns, discouraging face masks and banning the release of virus data since April.

The statement mentioned other preventive measures as as hand washing and use of sanitizers

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