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Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli has come under sharp criticism from all quarters with the way he has so far handled the COVID-19 pandemic in his country.
Everyone ranging from neighbouring countries, international community, and even opposition MPs seem to be questioning his approach of the pandemic.
The President has remained hell-bent in not applying stricter measures, as his neighbours the likes of Kenya and Uganda have done, and has insisted that he will not ban places of worship, just because of a virus.
On May 3, Dr. Magufuli triggered a global conspiracy when he claimed that a pawpaw fruit and a goat had tested positive for COVID-19, according to test results from a laboratory.
It started with Zambia and now Kenya has shut her borders with Tanzania, except for cargo vehicles, in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 after it emerged the number of imported cases from the country through the border towns is rapidly increasing.
On Sunday, May 17 Magufuli said that he will re-open schools and allow sporting activities and tourism to resume next week, because his approach of handling the pandemic is in such a way that the country’s economy is not brought to its knees.
“We have had a number of viral diseases including Aids and measles, our economy must come first, it must not sleep. If we allow our economy to sleep, we will not receive salaries…life must go on,” said Magufuli.
Speaking during a Sunday service in his Chato hometown, Magufuli further said COVID-19 infections in the country have greatly reduced, and that Tanzania will not agree to be “ruled” by COVID-19.
“If this week that we are starting tomorrow continues this way, I have planned to re-open schools so that our children may continue with their education. But I have also planned for the resuming of sporting activities, because sports one source of entertainment to Tanzanians,” added Magufuli
Magufuli also said that he is considering re-opening air travels, noting that tourists are eager to to visit Tanzania. He has instructed the tourism and transport ministers to initiate air travels and that tourists will not be quarantined on arrival.
“Once the tourists arrive, their temperatures will be taken, and if found normal with no signs of coronavirus, they can go see the animals,” noted Magufuli.