DAR ES SALAAM, 27 June 2021 – The president of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan has said her country is battling a third wave of the new coronavirus.
“Prevention is better than cure; let’s not stop using anything that may protect us from the pandemic to avoid mass death,” Hassan said Firday.
She spoke shortly after meeting with Catholic bishops in the port city of Dar es Salaam.
Breaking with the denialism of her predecessor – John Magufuli, who died in office last March – Hassan has been increasingly forceful and upfront in the way in which she addresses the pandemic.
She began by forming a committee of experts on COVID-19 to advise her government on measures to take in order to stem the spread of the virus.
Last Monday, the committee recommended that the government of Tanzania should resume publishing official figures on the spread of the virus in the country.
The last time Tanzania reported cases in April 2020 was more than a year ago when the government acknowledged that it had confirmed 509 cases of infections with 16 fatalities.
The committee also called for vaccines to be offered to frontline workers and vulnerable people.
Former President John Magufuli, who died in office last March 18, had consistently downplayed the pandemic, declaring vaccines potentially “dangerous”.
Earlier this month (June 2021), she authorized the importation of vaccines, initially to serve international organizations and embassies in the country, expanding later to include Tanzanian Muslims traveling to attend the pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.