Tanzanian president says ‘not proper’ to ignore Covid-19

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Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan stated Tuesday it was “not proper to ignore” the coronavirus pandemic, in feedback suggesting a shift from her Covid-sceptic predecessor who downplayed the illness.

In one other signal of change, Hassan additionally ordered an easing of restrictions on media that had been banned earlier than she took workplace final month.

Hassan introduced she would create an knowledgeable Covid taskforce to advise her authorities, saying they’d canvass world opinion on the pandemic and make suggestions about “remedies” and insurance policies.

“It is not proper to ignore it. We cannot reject or accept it without any evidence from research,” Hassan advised her newly-appointed everlasting secretaries at a swearing-in ceremony in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday.

“They (experts) will tell us more about the pandemic, and advise us about what the world is proposing. We cannot accept everything as it comes, but we also cannot isolate ourselves as an island while the world is moving in a different direction.”

Hassan turned Tanzania’s first feminine president final month following the loss of life of John Magufuli, a Covid-sceptic who spent the higher a part of the pandemic denying coronavirus existed in his nation earlier than his sudden loss of life at 61.

Authorities stated Magufuli, nicknamed the “Bulldozer” for his uncompromising management fashion, died of a coronary heart situation on March 17 after a mysterious three-week absence however his political opponents insisted he had coronavirus.

Hassan has vowed to “start where Magufuli ended” and all eyes have been on potential modifications to the nation’s insurance policies and openness concerning Covid-19.

Tanzania has not reported any Covid-19 information since April 2020 and few measures have been taken to curb the unfold of the virus, which Magufuli stated had been fended off by prayer, insisting face masks weren’t wanted.

“We cannot be reading about Covid in the world and when you reach sections about Tanzania, one find gaps. I think we need to be clearer whether we accept or not,” she stated.

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In one other coverage announcement, Hassan ordered that officers “free” media shops banned by her predecessor, whose administration was criticised for a heavy-handed crackdown on the press.

“We should not give any room to say that we are suppressing media freedom,” she stated.

“Our regulations should also be clear for every offence and their punishment. We should not use force to ban media platforms.”

No media shops had been talked about by identify, however final yr Tanzania’s Daima newspaper was indefinitely banned whereas broadcaster Wasafi TV, and on-line community Kwanza TV, had been handed suspensions.

Tanzania was lengthy seen as a haven of stability and democracy in an in any other case unstable neighbourhood, however alarm grew over a slide into autocracy below Magufuli’s rule.

Most international media weren’t allowed into Tanzania to cowl the 2020 presidential election during which Magufuli and Hassan, then his deputy, gained a second time period in a disputed vote.

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