Tanzanian President John Magufuli has claimed his country has eradicated coronavirus “by the grace of God,” but urged people to continue taking precautions.
Magufuli’s comments came in a speech at a church in the capital city of Dodoma on Sunday. He attributed the positive Covid-19 outcome to citizen’s prayers, local health officials and the efforts of front line health care workers.
President Magufuli celebrated churchgoers during the service for not wearing masks, claiming that was a sign the country had overcome coronavirus and people were no longer afraid.
Last week, the President said hospitals in the major city of Dar es Salaam, had only four Covid-19 patients remaining.
Tanzania has not released any data on coronavirus cases since April 29. At the last count, there were 509 reported cases and 21 deaths in Tanzania, according to the World Health Organization.
Regional WHO officials had expressed concern over Tanzania’s implementation of social distancing and keeping places of worship open.
In May, the US Embassy in Tanzania issued a health alert warning the risk of contracting Covid-19 was “extremely high” as hospitals in Dar es Salaam were “overwhelmed.”
Early on, Magufuli dismissed the seriousness of coronavirus in Tanzania, urging his citizens to “pray coronavirus away,” believing the “satanic virus can’t live in the body of Jesus Christ.”
He blamed the growing number of positive cases on faulty test kits.
Tanzania has eased coronavirus restrictions as universities, high schools, and international travel have all reopened. Primary and secondary schools remain closed.