Tanzania prepares for Coronavirus


The World Health Organization officially declared the Covid-19 as an international pandemic as the death toll exceeded 4000 out of 118,000 reported cases across 114 countries.

Tanzania readiness measures

Health authorities in Tanzania remain on high alert and are working closely with the government to ensure all points of entry into the country are strengthened. Dr. Janeth Mgamba, assistant director of epidemiology at the Health Ministry confirmed that they have set up 140 thermal scanners at the airports.George Ndaki, a member of the Tanzanian Airport Authority, expressed confidence in the scanners, even pointing out their detection of some suspect cases. Also on standby are ambulances and advanced scanning equipment.In remote Arusha, the East African Community’s Mobile Lab project, which will test all suspected cases. In the event, the disease manifests in an area with no diagnostic capability, the mobile lab will speedily respond to curb the situation.

Preventive measures

A nationwide awareness campaign for everyone to practice maximum hygiene is moving on smoothly. It advocates for frequent handwashing with lots of soap, covering the mouth when coughing and avoiding direct personal contact.On March 7, the Government of Zanzibar prohibited any visitor from Italy accessing the Isles over Coronavirus fears. The directive was announced by the Health Minister, Mr. Hamad Rashid.The Tanzanian president, John Pombe Magufuli, made headlines when he adopted a new greeting style. The nation was humored by the new preventive measure adopted by their president as he exchanged greetings with veteran politician Seif Shariff Hamad from Zanzibar.The Tanzania Football Association (TFF) also banned handshakes among players as a preventive measure. In place of handshakes, they recommended, sign language, fist-bumps or high-fives. The Association supported its decision by arguing it was based on advice from the Ministry of Health.

Strong China ties 

The strong economic integration between China and Africa signaled that it was only a matter of time before the virus eventually found its way to the continent. Surprisingly, most of the confirmed cases have involved travelers from Italy. However, there is no room for complacency given Covid-19 originated from China.

Covid-19 impacts Tanzania trade and tourism

The massive impact of the coronavirus on the disruption of China-based supply chains is directly impacting the African continent. Tanzania’s Minister of Industries and Trade, Innocent Bashungwa even shared his concerns of reduced economic activity as China has been their largest trading partner for the past 3 years. The hospitality and tourism industry has also registered a dismal performance as international visitors were forced to cancel their visits to the country. A good number of their home countries have barred their travel over the fear of them contracting the virus while en route. 

WHO declares coronavirus a pandemic

The novel coronavirus named Covid-19 traces back to Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization officially declared the Covid-19 as an international pandemic as the death toll exceeded 4000 out of 118,000 reported cases across 114 countries. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO chief, made the announcement at a press conference.

The official WHO definition of a pandemic is “the worldwide spread of a new disease.”

The new developments have raised questions as to the level of preparedness of African countries to respond to the pandemic. So far, the continent seems to be least affected by the outbreak. However, this statistic could slowly change. Over 25 suspected cases have been reported to the WHO thus far, with the majority of them turning up negative or still pending confirmation. Egypt was the first country to confirm a case, a happening that would spread to 10 other countries going by recent count. When the virus emerged, the WHO mentioned Tanzania as one of the 13 high-risk countries, a finding based on the high number of travel and direct links to China.