Photo: Li Yong | Credit: UNIDO - Photo: 2021

Tanzanian President Is Suspected Victim of Coronavirus

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK (IDN) — Tanzania is missing a president. John Magufuli, a pandemic denier, has not been seen for three weeks according to reports by the opposition which place him in India with Covid.

Speaking to the BBC, Tundu Lissu, opposition leader and Member of Parliament, cited unconfirmed sources alleging that the 61-year-old president had been hospitalized in Nairobi but was transferred to a hospital in India after falling into a coma.

In power since 2015 and nicknamed “The Bulldozer,” Magufuli was last seen on February 27 looking his normal robust self during a ceremony at State House in Dar es Salaam. His absence is unusual as he is known for making frequent public speeches and appearing on state television several times a week.

Despite numerous requests by the World Health Organization, Tanzania has not published any statistics on cases since May 2020, when it registered 509 infections and 21 deaths. It has no known testing program and health officials are forbidden from mentioning the virus.

Also missing is Kenya’s leader of the Orange Democratic Movement, Raila Odinga, now in quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19 at a city hospital.

He was admitted after developing “fatigue” according to his family. But his personal doctor, David Olunya, confirmed that Odinga has SARS-1 Covid-19. “He is responding well to the treatment … and remains upbeat,” Olunya said. “We are continuing to monitor his progress.”

Kenya’s dire straits with respect to the virus were revealed by health officer Mercy Mwangangi who said that all the Intensive Care Unit beds in Nairobi were occupied. The country has had more than 110,000 confirmed cases, 87,903 recoveries and nearly 2,000 deaths.

In South Africa, Jackson Mthembu, a cabinet minister and presidential adviser who was the public face of South Africa’s fight against COVID-19, died of the virus in January. He was the first of six South African cabinet members to succumb to the disease.

Other deaths this month unrelated to COVID include Ivory Coast Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko who died of cancer in a German hospital, and South Africa’s Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, 72. Cause of death: diabetes.

Meanwhile, African countries have begun receiving vaccines for Corona-19 but much less than needed. Ghana, population 30 million, has received 600,000 doses from the Serum Institute of India. Rwanda, population 12 million, has received 350,000 doses, Sudan, pop. 43 million, has received 800,000 doses, and Uganda, pop. 42 million, has ordered 18 million doses with 40% scheduled to arrive next month.

Nigeria, pop. 201 million, has received 4 million doses out of expected 16 million allotted to the country. An additional 42 million doses of approved vaccines are expected through the African Union’s African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, but details on the shipments are not yet clear. [IDN-InDepthNews – 15 March 2021]

Photo: John Magufuli. Source: Africanews

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