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Updated May 6, 2020


President Magufuli
President John Magufuli has been COVID-19 skeptic despite domestic criticism.


President John Magufuli has declared imported test kits as faulty.


Joining a chorus of leaders publicly expressing doubt about the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tanzanian president John Magufuli has declared imported test kits as faulty after alleged false positives for COVID-19 were detected in samples taken from animals and fruits that had secretly been submitted to the national health laboratory to test for the virus. The samples from a goat and a papaya apparently tested positive.

Magufuli’s administration has been generally apathetic about implementing measures to curb the spread of the virus, which has brought criticism from within Tanzania and from the international community. A day after Magufuli questioned the test results, the director and quality assurance manager of the laboratory were suspended, prompting the opposition and activists to accuse the government of failing to take the disease seriously and not being transparent about the number of COVID-19 cases.


Three members of parliament have died after a short illness.


The president did not elaborate on where the tests were imported from and has insisted on having business continue as usual, even after three members of parliament had died after a short illness, presumably COVID-19, including justice minister Augustine Mahiga. Freeman Mbowe, the leader of Tanzania’s principal opposition party Chadema, urged all party members to self-quarantine for two weeks, and called on the government to test and treat all MPs and their families.


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