The number of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Tanzanian is inflated, President John Pombe Magufuli has said.
Speaking on Sunday during the swearing-in ceremony of the newly-appointed Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Dr Mwigulu Nchemba, Magufuli expressed his disgust over the high number of COVID-19 cases reported in the country further saying he had reason to believe that test results from the National Referral Laboratory were ‘unrealistic’.
Magufuli noted that recently, his security team sent samples from a bird, pawpaw fruit, jackfruit, goat, sheep, rabbit and oil to the laboratory for tests and the results were shocking.
According to the President, the samples from the pawpaw fruit and goat tested positive for COVID-19 while the remaining samples either turned negative or the results were not conclusive.
Magufuli said the samples were labelled with names of people and their ages. He wondered how the researchers couldn’t differentiate the samples from those obtained from human beings.
The President said either the donated testing kits that are being used are faulty or some “frauds” are out to fight him politically.
He called on the new Minister for Justice and Constitution Affairs, who replaces Ambassador Augustine Mahiga who died on Friday, to investigate the matter.
Tanzania president Magufuli says some of the testing kits donated to Africa are fake. He says animal, bird and fruit samples secretly sent to the National lab returned positive for the coronavirus – including a bird, a goat and pawpaw. pic.twitter.com/Ze9e0MKODw
— Ahmed Mohamed ((ASMALi)) #StayHomeSaveLives (@Asmali77) May 3, 2020
Mahiga is among three Members of Parliament who have died in Tanzania in the past few days over suspected COVID-19 complications.
So far, Tanzania has reported a total of 480 cases of COVID-19 and 16 deaths.
Magufuli has in the recent past attracted criticism over the country’s response to COVID-19.
The President has been reluctant in putting in place strict measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 like the rest of the East African nation, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda.
Magufuli refused to close churches last month despite calls from medical experts from all quarters. This many believe may have contributed to the spread of the contagious disease in the country.
Instead, the Head of State termed worship centres as places where people could seek healing.
“Corona cannot survive in the body of Christ; it will burn. That is exactly why I did not panic while taking the Holy Communion,” said Magufuli.
The President, however, ordered the closure of schools and banned public events.
He also ordered mandatory quarantining of individuals arriving from foreign nationals as borders remain open.