Tanzania: Magufuli accused of covering up Covid-19 outbreak


Opposition groups in Tanzania have accused President John Magufuli of covering a major outbreak of Covid-19 in the country.

While many African nations have been applauded for their responses to the coronavirus outbreak, Magufuli has played down the threat of the pandemic and resisted calls to implement social distancing rules. Instead, the president has encouraged people in the country to continue working and socialising despite opposition claims of a major outbreak.

Magufuli accused of Covid-19 coverup

Authorities in Tanzania haven’t released official data on the number of coronavirus infections for almost a month, despite repeated requests from the World Health Organization (WHO). The government insists there are no Covid-19 patients currently in hospitals but opposition politicians insist at least three hospitals in Dar es Salaam are overrun with emergency patients in their respective ICUs.

Earlier this month, the US embassy said that all evidence pointed towards a major spread of cases in Dar es Salaam, claiming that “many hospitals” in the country’s largest city have been overwhelmed in recent weeks.

The government insists there is no coverup and points to figures that show the number of patients has declined in select hospitals – such as the Amana hospital in Dar es Salaam where the number of patients is said to have dropped from almost 200 to 12. However, opposition politicians accuse authorities of emptying hospitals and telling patients to treat themselves at home, running the risk that they will pass on infections to others over the coming weeks.

Featured image: “President Jacob Zuma on State visit to Tanzania” flickr photo by GovernmentZA https://flickr.com/photos/governmentza/34432084182 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-ND) license

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.