Covid cases surging in Tanzania, says US embassy as government downplays virus

Graffiti painted by the Wachata artists group to raise awareness about wearing masks to avoid the risk of the Covid-19 in Dar es Salaam on May 26, 2020.

(CNN)Covid-19 case numbers in Tanzania have risen considerably since January, says the United States embassy in the country's largest city, Dar es Salaam.

The warning comes as the East African nation's president continues to downplay the virus and tell the health ministry not to rush to purchase vaccines.
Tanzania has not reported Covid-19 cases or deaths since late April. The US embassy warned that healthcare facilities could be swamped and that poor hospital capacity could "result in life-threatening delays for emergency medical care."
    "The U.S. Embassy is aware of a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases since January 2021," it said in a statement on Wednesday. "The practice of COVID-19 mitigation and prevention measures remains limited."
    Currently, neither the Department of State nor the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend travel to Tanzania. Travelers arriving into the US from Tanzania aged two years and older are required to present a negative test taken within three days of traveling.
    President John Magufuli, who was reelected in a disputed October 2020 election, has repeatedly downplayed the virus and recommended outlandish cures.
    President John Magufuli speaks at the national congress of his party in Dodoma, Tanzania on July 11