Tanzania, once sceptical of COVID-19, announces measures to curb new variants

Her approach to tackling COVID-19 contrasts sharply with her late predecessor John Magufuli who dismissed fears of the infection. File, Standard]

Tanzania on Monday announced new anti-coronavirus measures, saying it wanted to prevent the importation of new variants, highlighting new President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s more active efforts to contain the pandemic.

Among the new measures, travellers, both foreigners and Tanzanians, will be required to present negative COVID-19 tests at border points.

Her approach to tackling COVID-19 contrasts sharply with her late predecessor John Magufuli who dismissed fears of the infection and promoted remedies such as steam inhalation and herbal concoctions as a cure.

“Based on the global epidemiological situation and emergence of new variants of viruses that cause COVID-19, there’s an increased risk of their importation into our country,” a ministry of health statement said.

To prevent such a risk, the statement said, Tanzania had “decided to elevate and enhance prevailing preventive measures, especially those with regard to international travel.”

odmed3lafqp1tkd1b6090e402cea0b Tanzania, once sceptical of COVID-19, announces measures to curb new variants
Visitors will be required to adhere to preventive measures including mask-wearing, sanitising and social distancing. [Reuters]

There will also be “enhanced screening” of travellers and a mandatory 14-day quarantine for travellers from countries with new variants and those who have travelled there in the last 14 days.

While staying in the country, the statement said, visitors, will be required to adhere to preventive measures including mask-wearing, sanitising and social distancing.

Magufuli, who died in March, had urged Tanzanians to shun mask-wearing and also denounced vaccines as a Western conspiracy, frustrating the World Health Organization and local critics. 

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