A Covid-19 committee of experts has been formed in Tanzania to help the new President Samia Suluhu manage the pandemic in the country.
President Suluhu revealed this in Dodoma on Sunday during a national conference organized by religious leaders to remember ex-President John Magufuli and pray for the new leaders including herself and her Zanzibar counterpart, Dr Hussein Ali Mwinyi.
The experts will advise the Head of State on the status of Covid-19 in the country and the necessary steps to take.
“As I promised during the swearing-in of the Permanent Secretaries and their deputies, I have already formed a committee. I’m expecting to meet its members and representatives of the Ministry of Health and those from the Ministry of Finance and Planning in the near future in order to establish the way forward,” she said.
The President noted that the virus has been mutating into different variants and there is a need to provide frequent updates on the Covid-19 situation in the country.
“Let me promise that I will be frequently provide new updates on the disease from the committee in order to save the country from losing significant manpower and protect those in danger of contracting the disease,” Suluhu added.
She asked clerics to educate the masses on public health measures that have been proved effective in breaking the chains of transmission. They include handwashing with soap and running water, using sanitizers, maintaining social distancing and use of face masks.
Suluhu had on April 6 stated that Tanzania cannot ignore Covid-19, marking a major shift from her Covid-sceptic predecessor, who downplayed the disease.
“We will form a committee of experts to tell us how the situation is and what the world is advising us to do. We cannot isolate ourselves like an island and we cannot receive what is being brought to us without analysing it and doing our research,” Suluhu said.
Magufuli, who the government said died of heart disease on March 17, had dismissed the threat from the coronavirus pandemic, further encouraging Tanzanians to pray and use steam therapy to keep the virus at bay.
Tanzania last released data on the pandemic in May last year, which showed that the country had only 509 cases.