Number of COVID-19 cases rises to 12 in Tanzania: president

Map of Tanzania. Selective Focus.
Microscopic view of Coronavirus, a pathogen that attacks the respiratory tract. (Getty Images)

Tanzanian President John Magufuli announced on Sunday that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country has risen from six on Friday to 12 by Sunday morning, appealing for heightened observance of protective guidelines given by health authorities.

“People should not panic but they should continue observing protective guidelines given by health authorities,” he said in his address to the nation televised live by state-run Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation from the capital Dodoma.

“The government is doing all it takes to fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said, adding that people should not stop working as an excuse for the outbreak of the virus.

Magufuli said eight out of the 12 confirmed cases were Tanzanians and the remaining four cases were foreigners, adding that all but one case came from countries affected by the disease.

He said all the 12 patients staying in isolated health facilities were in good condition, adding that the first Tanzanian female patient that tested positive on March 16 has now tested negative.

The head of state explained a number of measures taken by his administration to contain further spread of the virus, including reinforcement of a national task force monitoring and controlling COVID-19.

Magufuli said the task force will be headed by the Prime Minister assisted by the Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children and other experts to be appointed by the premier.

He added that travelers arriving in the country, including Tanzanians, from countries most affected by the virus will undergo self-isolation for 14 days on their own expenses starting on Monday.

The president also announced suspension of foreign travels by all public servants effective from Sunday and urged other people to avoid all non-essential travel abroad.

He directed the Ministry of Health and other relevant authorities to strengthen the National Laboratory by equipping it with state-of-the-art testing facilities.

The president also directed defense and security agencies on the country’s border to reinforce surveillance lest people entered into the country without undergoing tests for the virus.