Tanzanian President John Magufuli has rejected calls to lockdown the country in order to contain the spread of Covid-19 that is slowly ravaging the East African country.
On Friday, the head of state instead declared three days of national prayer to combat the disease that has killed millions across the globe.
On Wednesday, Zanzibar’s First Vice President Seif Sharif Hamad succumbed to the novel virus.
Hamad, 77, died two weeks after confirming reports that he had been hospitalised over Covid-19.
“It is true I am at Mnazi Mmoja Hospital where I am being treated for Covid-19 and my wife has been isolated at home,” Hamad told the East African via a text message on Monday, February 1, 2021.
On the same day, Chief Secretary of the State John William Kijazi passed on at the Benjamin Mkapa Hospital in Dodoma.
The cause of death was not made public but speculations are rife that he died from the virus.
On Tuesday, Namibia’s third secretary to Tanzania Selina Tjihero died following a short illness.
Namibia’s ambassador to Tanzania Tobia Lebbeus confirmed that Tjihero died on Tuesday.
“She did not feel well, and unfortunately we lost her,” the ambassador told The Namibian.
While the ambassador didn’t reveal Tjihero’s cause of death, reports indicate that she succumbed to coronavirus.
In January, Magufuli told the people to be prayerful in order to keep the virus at bay.
This he said as he maintained that traditional healing practices had proved effective in saving lives. He dismissed the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines.
“Sitatangaza ata siku moja kuwa tunajifungia ndani kwa sababau mungu wetu yuko hai na ataendelea kutulinda watanzania lakini pia tutatendelaea kuchukua tahadhari zingine za kiafya zikiwa ni pamoja na kujifukizia huku unamwomba mungu na kupiga zoezi la kulima mahindi na viazi ili ule vizuri ushibe corona ishindwe kuingia kwenye mwili wako. Mtatishwa sana ndugu zangu watanzainia lakini simama imara, ” he said.
Magufuli claimed that a South African coronavirus variant that was recently reported in the country was brought by people who had received the Covid-19 vaccine elsewhere.
In June, 2020, the Tanzanian head of state declared the country coronavirus-free.