US raises concern over rise in Covid cases in Tanzania
Mercy Mwai and Agencies
The US government has revealed that there are significant cases of Covid-19 in Tanzania, just a week after it advised its citizens against travelling to the East African country.
In a statement posted on its website, the US government through its embassy warned that Tanzania’s health facilities could be quickly overwhelmed if the situation continued.
The advisory follows one from the British government banning all travellers arriving from Tanzania.
“There has been a significant increase in the number of Covid-19 cases reported by individuals to the US Embassy since January 2021,” reads a statement posted on the website.
“Limited hospital capacity throughout Tanzania could result in life-threatening delays for emergency medical care,” adds the statement.
The embassy warned that despite the opening up of sectors of business throughout Tanzania, the risk of contracting the disease through community transmission remains elevated.
Following the move, the embassy told US. government personnel and their families to exercise caution in day-to-day activities by limiting entry of individuals into their homes, limiting potential exposure while outside the home by wearing a face mask, washing hands frequently, observing social distancing and avoiding crowds.
Tanzanian government has not released aggregate numbers on Covid cases or deaths since April last year with the use of masks, social distancing and other prevention strategies being largely absent in the country.
The decision by the Tanzania government to withhold numbers, comes even as BBC published a story, showing how one family is mourning the death of a husband and father suspected to have succumbed to the disease.
According to BBC, several Tanzanian families also had similar experiences but have chosen not to speak out, fearing retribution from the government.
Last week, the country’s Health Minister Dorothy Gwajima who said that the ministry had no plans to receive vaccines for CovidD-19, recommended a vegetable smoothie and steam inhalation as a way of keeping the disease at bay.
On his part, the Chief Government Chemist Fidelice Mafumiko also suggested the use of herbal medicine to cure Covid-19.
Tanzania is among the first countries in Africa to order for the touted Madagascar Covid herb in the fight against the virus.
Her statement came a few days after Tanzania President John Magufuli warned officials against importing Covid-19 vaccines saying they could harm people, without giving evidence.