Magufuli orders probe on Covid-19 kits after goat ‘tests positive’
President John Magufuli of Tanzania on Sunday ordered a probe on the country’s coronavirus testing protocols, citing possible interference by unnamed saboteurs.
President Magufuli also dismissed the test kits used in the country saying that they were faulty because they had returned positive results on samples taken from a goat and a pawpaw.
Magufuli, whose government has already drawn criticism for being secretive about the coronavirus outbreak and has previously asked Tanzanians to pray the coronavirus away, said the kits had “technical errors”.
“We extracted a sample from a goat which turned positive. This tells you that something is not adding up. Are we now supposed to quarantine goats and fruits?” President Magufuli posed.
The Covid-19 testing kits had been imported from abroad, Magufuli said, although he did not give further details.
“There is something happening. I said before we should not accept that every aid is meant to be good for this nation,” said Magufuli.
The Tanzanian leader, who has been governing from his rural home in Chato since the onset of the pandemic, urged citizens to exercise caution, but downplayed the severity of the disease saying it could be managed without disrupting the country’s economy.
“Let’s continue working. Factories must continue to produce products. I have said it before and I will repeat this: I will not place Dar es Salaam under lockdown,” he asserted.
On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) chided Tanzania for its ongoing lack of cooperation and transparency in the global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic as cases in the country continue to soar.
Authorities in the country have been lax in issuing updates on the number of coronavirus infections, while the President has stubbornly refused to introduce stringent measures to slow the spread of the virus after Tanzania recorded its first coronavirus case on March 16, 2020.
President Magufuli has been increasingly criticized for his response to the pandemic after the number of confirmed cases rose sharply within a month.
After five days of silence, officials released its latest update on the number of Covid-19 infections on Thursday. Almost all African countries release daily reports, including their current number of infections, fatalities and recoveries.
As of Sunday, Tanzania it had recorded 480 cases of Covid-19 and 17 deaths, but unlike most other African countries, Dar es Salaam sometimes goes for days without offering updates.