The World Health Organization chief, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has congratulated Tanzania’s new president and said he hopes they can work together to end the coronavirus pandemic.
Samia Suluhu Hassan was sworn-in as the East African nation’s new leader on Friday, following the death of Covid sceptic President John Magufuli.
Tanzania has not published data on coronavirus since May 2020 and the government has refused to purchase vaccines, despite calls from the World Health Organization.
“I look forward to working with you to keep people safe from Covid-19, end the pandemic and achieve a healthier Tanzania. Together!” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a Tweet.
Magufuli has been playing down the impact of the pandemic, claiming Tanzania had freed itself from the Covid” through prayer and encouraged herbal-infused steam therapy to
He also rejected any lockdowns or measures such as mask-wearing.
“That’s why we are all not wearing face masks here. You think we don’t fear dying? It’s because there is no Covid-19,” he said.
But Magufuli later admitted what he called a “respiratory disease” was still circulating.
Magufuli’s death comes after weeks of uncertainty over his health and rumours swirling that he had in fact contracted the virus.
He had not been seen in public for almost three weeks and at the time the government denied Magufuli had any health issues.
It was not until Wednesday that Samia Suluhu Hassan announced Magufuli had died from heart complications.