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New Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, inspects a military parade following her swearing in the country's first female President after the sudden death of President John Magufuli at statehouse in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on March 19, 2021.

Tanzanian President Announces New COVID-19 Task Force

Following President John Magufuli's death and widespread COVID-denialism, Tanzania's newly-appointed President Samia Suluhu Hassan is reportedly forming a COVID-19 task force to help implement proper regulations.

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan has announced plans to form a task force aimed at guiding the Tanzanian government on implementing some of the COVID-19 health and safety regulations that have proved successful globally.

This comes shortly after President John Magufuli's death — who reportedly died of a heart condition, amidst countrywide speculations that his death was due to COVID-19 complications. The task force would be comprised of various experts, Hassan announced.

Read: Samia Suluhu Hassan Becomes Tanzania's First Woman President

Hassan's public declaration on Tuesday, April 6 was geared towards shifting the mindsets of Tanzanians away from the late Magufuli's COVID-19 denialism. The late statesman dismissed the pandemic, disregarded the use of masks and, instead, urged Tanzanians to put their trust in prayer, steaming and traditional remedies. According to Al Jazeera, Hassan emphasized the seriousness of the pandemic and its effects — and further stated that, "It is not proper to ignore it. We cannot reject or accept it without any evidence from research".

The newly-formed task force will reportedly collate COVID-19 research from countries that have been monitoring and collecting valuable data — which will, then, help inform Tanzania's recommendations and regulations. According to eNCA, Hassan promised to continue where her predecessor left off. This is bound to be an uphill climb considering that the late Magufuli made no effort to record Tanzania's COVID-19 infection and death data. Hassan, however, has decided that Tanzania cannot further isolate itself from the world as the pandemic has impacted every country. "We cannot accept everything from abroad, but we also cannot reject everything," Hassan stated.

The announcement took place at a swearing-in ceremony of Hassan's new administration in Dar es Salaam. She also lifted the international media ban that Magufuli had enforced late last year.

Magufuli passed away on March 17 after a mysterious three-week hiatus from public duties. Tanzania has not reported any COVID-19 statistics since April 2020. In March last year, Tanzanian rapper Mwana FA was the first public figure to share that he had tested positive for COVID-19.


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