Fri, 23 Apr 2021

Oman considering suspending flights to Tanzania due to Covid

Robert Besser
24 Feb 2021, 15:53 GMT+10

NAIROBI, Kenya: The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has requested that Tanzania report on its measures to battle the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, while highlighting that his requests to authorities had frequently gone unheeded.

President John Magufuli's skeptical approach toward COVID-19 has raised alarm among WHO officials.

A government spokesman informed Reuters, Feb 12, that Tanzania had "controlled" the outbreak, though stopped reporting new COVID-19 infections and deaths in May 2020. During that time, officials said it recorded 509 cases and 21 deaths.

"(This underscores) the need for Tanzania to take robust action, both to safeguard their own people and protect populations in these countries and beyond," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Sunday, as quoted by Reuters.

Ghebreyesus also reiterated the appeal from Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's Africa head, in late January for Tanzania to intensify public health measures against COVID-19 and make preparations for distributing vaccines.

However, Ghebreyesus noted that he had since been in touch with country officials, who were not responsive.

"This situation continues to be a cause of major concern. I renew my call for Tanzania to start reporting COVID-19 cases and share data," according to Ghebreyesus, as published on the WHO website.

Tanzanian government's spokesman, Hassan Abbasi, had yet to respond to a Reuters request for a response on Ghebreyesus' remarks.

Magufuli's office, in a statement Sunday, echoed the president's appeal to Tanzanians to adhere to measures to safeguard themselves from the disease.

"Magufuli wants Tanzanians to ... trust and put God first, given that wearing masks, social distancing, and lockdowns have been seen to be insufficient, as countries that implemented them have lost thousands compared to Tanzania," according to the statement.

On Sunday, Magufuli emphasized the need for Tanzanians to wear only locally produced face masks, while raising doubts over the safety of foreign-made masks.

On Monday, Oman's health minister announced that his country was considering plans to suspend flights from Tanzania, noting that 18 percent of travelers from that country tested positive for COVID-19.

On Monday, Thailand registered its first case of the highly infectious COVID-19 variant, initially identified in South Africa, in a Thai male who arrived from Tanzania.The World Health Organization (WHO) head requested that Tanzania report on its measures to battle the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, while highlighting that his requests to authorities had frequently gone unheeded.

President John Magufuli's skeptical approach toward COVID-19 has raised alarms among WHO officials.

A government spokesman informed Reuters, Feb 12, that Tanzania had "controlled" the outbreak, though stopped reporting new COVID-19 infections and deaths in May 2020. During that time, officials said it recorded 509 cases and 21 deaths.

"(This underscores) the need for Tanzania to take robust action, both to safeguard their own people and protect populations in these countries and beyond," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Sunday, as quoted by Reuters.

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