Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania – Esther Mngodo, like different Tanzanians, was relieved to listen to this week authorities officers are lastly urging individuals within the nation to take precautions towards the coronavirus – and even put on face masks.
“It is a good move,” stated Mngodo, a 34-year-old resident of Dar-es-Salaam. “But much more needs to be done to increase public awareness, testing and treatment. Most importantly, we must have a clear strategy on how to navigate through these unprecedented times.”
In a shock change within the official stance on coronavirus, President John Magufuli on Sunday stated the federal government had not forbidden the carrying of masks and inspired those that wished to take action.
However, he warned towards what he claimed have been defective face coverings on sale within the nation, suggesting that prime coronavirus-related dying charges worldwide could possibly be linked to the uptake of such merchandise and claiming these in Tanzania’s rural areas have been much less prone to fall sufferer to the virus as a result of they tended to not put on them.
“The government has not forbidden mask-wearing. But we have to be careful about which masks we wear. We will perish. Don’t think we’re loved so much. Economic war is bad,” Magufuli instructed a congregation at a church service in Dar-es-Salaam.
“These masks which we buy in the shops- we’re killing ourselves,” he argued, earlier than advising Tanzanians to both to make the masks themselves or use these produced domestically.
Magufuli has lengthy downplayed the severity of COVID-19, urging Tanzanians to wish, use steam inhalation and embrace native cures to guard themselves from the respiratory illness. Tanzania stopped releasing an infection numbers in April 2020, weeks earlier than Magufuli declared the nation coronavirus-free in June via divine intervention.
For Mngodo, the current U-turn could possibly be a results of what appears to be a lethal resurgence of an infection, which has swept throughout the nation over the previous few months.
“It appears that the extent of the problem has reached to a point where the government cannot deny the severity of the problem,” stated Mngodo, a media guide.
Announcements of deaths typically attributed to “the current pneumonia” or “breathing problems” have flooded social media.
Among the deceased are quite a few high-profile people, together with a number of college professors, a former governor of the central financial institution, the nation’s chief secretary and Zanzibar’s first vice chairman, Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad.
Of them, Hamad was the one particular person confirmed to have been contaminated by the novel coronavirus, as he texted his COVID-19 check outcomes to the media. As for the others, the general public has been left to invest concerning the causes of their deaths, at a time when the world is stilling battling the coronavirus pandemic and lots of widespread Tanzanians have been touched by the results of it.
These circumstances have led non secular leaders and different critics, significantly on social media, to place stress on the federal government to offer clear and constant tips on preventing the pandemic, whereas additionally urging people to take precautions.
A Tanzanian medical physician primarily based within the United States, Frank Minja, stated the change of thoughts is welcomed, if lengthy overdue, and will current a chance. “We want to encourage [the president] to move faster in implementing what we know to be effective and implement it right away,” he stated.
“I don’t want to say it’s too late, because if we say too late then it means we might as well not do anything. And because, by its nature, the pandemic attacks in waves, it is never too late to start doing the right thing,” added Minja, who has been campaigning on social media to boost consciousness concerning the coronavirus.
Dorothy Semu, appearing chairperson of the opposition ACT Wazalendo occasion, criticised Magufuli, saying the measures carried out when the virus first entered the nation – together with bodily distancing and cancellation of huge occasions – ought to have been saved in place.
“I am a politician but I am also a believer in science,” Semu stated. “As leaders responsible for people’s lives it is important that we make our decisions based on facts. It’s like when HIV/AIDS was discovered; some people denied its presence and many lives were lost. So, I expected the president, who is also a scientist, to have continued with the past measures and we would have saved many lives.”
The new stance by Magufuli – a former trainer and industrial chemist – on mask-wearing appears to have additionally prompted many different public workplaces and officers to immediately come ahead and warn individuals of the hazards of coronavirus and measures people ought to take to guard themselves from the virus.
For occasion, the company which runs Dar-es-Salaam’s speedy transport buses on Monday stated passengers wouldn’t be allowed to board if not carrying a masks.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health, headed by Dorothy Gwajima who has beforehand advocated steam inhalation and a vegetable smoothie to deal with COVID-19, earlier this week issued a press release warning individuals towards the virus and interesting to them to take precautions.
However, it insisted that it will not be recommending lockdown measures.
“As said by the president, we won last year and the economy continued to grow until we achieved middle-income economy status, and Coronavirus still existed,” stated the ministry’s assertion.
“We did not set lockdowns, and even now, we will not impose lockdowns because God is on our side.”