African Union raises concern over Tanzania’s lack of Covid-19 data

Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli took power in November 2015/ REUTERS

Tanzania’s lack of Covid-19 data is a concern for the African Union.

The country has not published figures for weeks and in early July its health minister said the virus was “heading towards an end”. President Magufuli later, for the second time, declared the country Covid-19 free.

“We continue to reach out [to Tanzania] but we’re not having the right responses,” director of the AU’s Centres for Disease and Control (Africa CDC), Dr John Nkengasong, told the BBC.

The government of Tanzania has even shut down media houses that report on the pandemic.

President Uhuru Kenyatta last month indirectly accused Magufuli of sitting on the numbers to create and okay perception.

In May Tanzania’s government dismissed a US embassy warning that hospitals in Dar es Salaam were “overwhelmed” and that the chances of contracting the virus was “extremely high”.

The concern comes at a time presidential campaigns in the country are getting underway with nominations of various candidates.

The two countries with the highest numbers of cases are South Africa and Egypt and they accounted for 75per cent of all the new cases reported by mid-July.

South Africa has the highest recorded number of total cases and reported deaths, and make up more than half of all the cases in Africa.

The Africa CDC is keeping a close eye on Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Dr Nkengasong told the BBC’s Newsday programme.

More than 65 per cent of Africa’s 55 countries have reported fewer than than 5,000 cases, Africa CDC says.

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