Coronavirus: Tanzania Walking Alone

Tanzania has distinguished itself as an outlier in the middle of the biggest global health crisis of modern times.

With much of the world scrambling to stop the outbreak through restrictions of movement and ramping up testing, Tanzania has chosen an unusual approach.

Whilst there exists no template of what works against the Covid-19 pandemic, the general consensus is that being able to measure the extent of the spread of the virus is a necessary step towards controlling it.

Tanzania has been doing the opposite. Since 19 April the East African nation has not published data on new infections.

President John Magufuli has questioned the reliability of testing kits, shut the national laboratory and a month on declared victory over the virus.

It is not known if testing has resumed.

Foreign missions in the country and neighbouring countries are raising the alarm.

The US embassy urged its citizens to be cautious, saying there was a high probability of getting infected in the commercial capital, Dar es Salam.

The UK has been repatriating its citizens.

Kenya said recently that 182 foreigners tested positive at the countries' shared border and denied them entry.

The decision infuriated the Tanzanian government, leading top officials to accuse Kenya of sabotaging its tourism sector.

Zambia has also closed its border after finding a significant number of new imported cases.

Tanzania will no doubt be the subject of many lessons on responding to pandemics in the coming months and years.

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