Tanzania: COVID-19 - Tanzania On High Alert

Travellers undergo security checks and coronavirus screening on arrival at Entebbe International Airport on February 6, 2020.

President John Magufuli yesterday issued a strong alert over the deadly global virus COVID-19, calling on individuals, media, and security bodies to play their role in preventive measures.

Meanwhile, the President said he had already directed the Chief Secretary, Amb John Kijazi to restrict permission to government officials requesting to travel abroad as the world struggles to fight the pandemic.

He went further by appealing to individual Tanzanians to limit their travels even from one region to another, warning them that the disease has no cure yet.

"There are people who always travel from one region to another, please don't if it isn't necessary," Dr Magufuli said emphatically when addressing the nation through a live-televised event from Lugalo Military Base where he inaugurated a major mechanical workshop for Tanzania People's Defense Force.

Tanzania still doesn't have any confirmed case of the disease as media reports show that neighboring Kenya yesterday confirmed its first Coronavirus case.

The Kenyan government said the patient is a 27 year-old 55.2 million US dollars.

"The signing of these agreements will enable the bank to provide funds to the government through the following windows: AFDB (US dollars 198.63 million), African Development Fund (US dollars 246.96 million) and African Growing Together Fund (Chinese government fund administered by the bank)- US Dollars 50 million)," he explained.

Mr James said the construction of Msalato Airport and upgrading of the Bagamoyo- Pangani road section to bitumen standard will help the government to bridge the infrastructure gap for accelerating socioeconomic development, poverty reduction and boost tourism.

Kenyan who travelled from the US via London. Globally, a total of 112,000 people have been infected with the virus, killing over 4,500 people in over 100 countries.

"You should know that we (Tanzanians) have not yet reported any case, but we can't stay relaxed, that is why we have started taking preventive measures," President Magufuli stated, as he called upon Tanzanians not to ignore caution provided by the government.

Apart from discouraging individuals' unnecessary travels, the Head of State reminded them of avoiding bodily contact such as handshaking, hugging or kissing.

He told the media, which is regarded as a strong tool for communication, also to embark on education campaign on a daily basis.

"Editors in all media houses should consider putting a piece of an advert reminding the public over preventive measures over the pandemic," he said.

On the other hand, Dr Magufuli directed security organs also to be wary and effectively protect the country's borders so that people from other countries cannot enter through informal borders.

The President stated that Tanzania was economically moving well, but it will shake if the disease will find its way into the country.

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development warned that an escalation in the coronavirus outbreak could cut global economic growth in half and plunge several countries into recession this year.

Sounding the alarm as the disease spreads around the world and rattles investors, the OECD said global GDP growth could plummet this year to as little as 1.5 per cent, almost half the 2.9 per cent rate it forecast before the outbreak took hold.

The downturn could be the "gravest threat" to the global economy since the financial crisis more than a decade ago, it warned.

The Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu recently said authorities have expanded thermal screening facilities at all major airports.

The minister revealed that screening exercises for incoming passengers are conducted in major airports--Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA), Kilimanjaro Airport (KIA) and Mwanza Airport.

The minister said about 140 medical equipment had been installed at all major airports, borders and ports, and that medical experts have been trained to handle the screening process to reduce the risk of transmission from persons jetting in who might be infected.

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