Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu has announced that she will form a COVID-19 taskforce to guide her administration on the status of the pandemic in the country.
In a move seen as a shift from the hardline position taken by her predecessor the late President John Magufuli, Suluhu said the country cannot isolate itself from what is happening across the world.
“On the issue of Covid-19, I think I should form a Committee of experts to look at it professionally and then advise the Government, it should not be silenced or rejected or accepted without professional research,” she said.
She added: “We cannot isolate ourselves as if we are an Island but also we cannot accept everything brought to us, we cannot continue just reading about Covid 19 Worldwide, yet Tanzania is all blank, it is incomprehensible.”
She was speaking during the swearing-in ceremony of the newly appointed government officials at the State House, Dar es Salaam.
According to the new President, Tanzania needs to have a clear and understandable position regarding the pandemic so that it can make informed decisions.
Tanzania, she pointed out, cannot rely on outside reports on the state of the pandemic while it has none.
“Tanzania needs to have its own understanding of where we stand on the issue of Covid-19,” she stressed.
Tanzania last released data on Covid-19 almost a year ago with data then showing that Tanzania only had 509 cases.
Since then government adopted the approach that Tanzania was free from Covid-19 with authorities encouraging local remedies such the steam therapy.
The government under her predecessor also said Tanzania would not procure vaccines despite the insistence of the WHO that the jab was necessary to curb the spread of the virus.
The late President Magufuli played down the threat of COVID-19 in Tanzania and scoffed at global panic.
He urged Tanzanians to put faith in prayer and homespun remedies such as steam inhalation rather than vaccines, which he said were dangerous and part of a western conspiracy.