Tanzania: COVID-19- Six Cases Reported, Business and Lifestyle Changes

According to the Tanzanian Ministry of Health, All 27 people who came in contact with the first patients tested negative for Coronavirus.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has hit Tanzania, and it is taking a rather serious toll in the East African nation of more than 55 million people, forcing lifestyle choice to change and economic operations to shrink.

In the past weeks, Tanzania had no cases, but currently, there are 6 cases registered in Tanzania. Since the virus made its way to Tanzania, the government of Tanzania has instructed closure of schools, higher learning institutions, and rolled in precautionary measures to various sectors including transport and health.

The ministry of health revealed on 18 March 2020, that the task force tracked all contacts related to the patient, of which have now risen to 27, and tested negative for COVID-19

Since the first case broke, Tanzania has seen a stark rise in hand-sanitizer and disinfectant soaps prices as demand soars particularly in the most populous and commercial city, Dar es Salaam.

According to information from the World Health Organization (WHO), Africa has more than 400 cases, and Sub-Saharan Africa recorded its first death, in Burkina Faso.

The ministry unequivocally stated that it is working closely with the WHO to follow closely and ensure these six cases are monitored and contained.

However, concerns have been raised regarding COVID-19 samples being sent to Dar es Salaam, for testing from several places in Tanzania.

Thus, peaking before members of the press on March 18, minister of health Ummy Mwalimu, said that " As the virus is highly infectious, It is only the national health laboratory in Dar es Salaam which the bio-security level three standards responsible for handling the samples".

Also, the minister highlighted that, there are contingency plans to handle any situation to arise, hence, lessons learnt from the last year Ebola outbreak were factored in.

Transport and trade amid COVID-19

At the moment Tanzania aviation landscape has lost about 2 to 3 per cent of revenue loss, despite that--still few planes bring in and take out people to various destinations.

In containing the outbreak, the Tanzanian ministry for works, transports and communications gave three days to the Land Transport Regulatory Authority and city councils to come up with a strategy to decongest people I bus stops, install and ensure regular usage of sanitizers.

Considering the socio-economic situation and the current prices of sanitizers (which also rose sharply) ranging at $10 to $21, far from recommended prices of between $1.5 and $ 2.3l, it is still unclear as to whether the Tanzanian government, will provide sanitizers for free to most people who can't afford them.

Also, the Tanzania Shipping Agencies Corporation (TASAC) is taking a serious precaution against the outbreak, by giving instructions to vessel owners to install emergency equipment in preventing the virus, according to information from The Citizen.

Further, ships originating from overseas are thoroughly crosschecked at the port by health officers.

On business, still, the right numbers are yet to be known as--various entities are working on assessing the damage done.

According to information from The Citizen, The Tanzanian Board of Bankers Association gave a brief yesterday March 18 on the economic impact of the COVID-19.

As business operations shrink over time and space, the board noted that still accessing loans for investment has been hurt by the outbreak, but also some lenders confessed that regularly planned consignment has been altered for over two months, since the outbreak.

" The loans ranged from sh 100 (over $ 43,000) to sh 1 billion (over $430,000) for that purpose of importing merchandise from China and other Asian countries. Unfortunately, since January nobody has managed to procure and import something to enable them to start serving loans as well as interest in banks" Tanzania Business Community Secretary-general Abdallah Mwinyi told The Citizen.

Hence, he has urged for Bank of Tanzania and commercial banks to work closely in monitoring the situation. But also--the Tanzanian Ports Authority and Revenue Authority (TRA)stated that they are still assessing and closely monitoring the situation, hence--both entities will provide a detailed economic report on the impact caused by COVID-19.

Because, coronaviruses persist on various surfaces (glass, plastic, aluminum, paper, wood, and steel) from 8 hours to 5 days, it is yet to be known, how that situation will be handled by the revenue authority whose thousands of handheld receipts machines currently are operated national wide.

In that context, there are scenarios that viable options are yet to be sufficiently determined, as to whether TRA will be able to mitigate that situation, and is Tanzania able to shield its communities from cross-contamination.

Also, the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) noted that the coronavirus outbreak has affected the supply of materials, and triggered a possibility of a shortage of raw materials, which might stall production.

However, as other parts of the world, governments incorporate various strategies to keep industries from collapsing, in Tanzania, nothing has surfaced concerning that perspective, perhaps it is time for Tanzania to rethink their approach.

Also, the ministry of health, noted that rapid response teams are ready and will monitor the situation if arises national wide.

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