COVID-19: Pawpaw, Bird, Goat, Engine Oil Test Positive in Tanzania
There has been a top and controversial sacking in Tanzania. Head of the country’s national health laboratory in charge of coronavirus testing was suspended, a day after President John Magufuli questioned the accuracy of the tests.
On Sunday President Magufuli, who has consistently downplayed the effect of the virus shocked the world when he said animals, fruits and vehicle oil had been secretly tested at the laboratory.
A papaya, a quail and a goat. All of three he says had been found to be positive to Covid-19.
President John Magufuli got to know this after he secretly ordered the tests.
Magufuli cast doubt on the credibility of laboratory equipment and technicians and questioned official data on the pandemic. He called for an investigation into what he suspected to be a “dirty game” in the laboratory.
But did not say where the kits had been imported from.
“The equipment or people may be compromised and sometimes it can be sabotage,” Magufuli said in a speech broadcast live through state-run Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC).
Catherine Sungura, acting head of communications at the ministry of health, said the director of the laboratory and its quality assurance manager had been immediately suspended “to pave way for the investigation”.
Sungura said a 10-person committee had been formed to investigate the laboratory’s operations, including its process of collecting and testing samples.
Magufuli has also fired the head of the government Medical Stores Department, which is in charge of distributing medical supplies and equipment to government hospitals, but gave no reason.
The opposition has accused the government of hiding information and failing to take the disease seriously.
Schools and universities have been shut but markets, bus stops and shops bustle as usual, with Magufuli urging citizens to continue working hard and not stop going to church or mosques.
Tanzania has reported 480 cases of the coronavirus and 16 deaths.
Source: Al Jazeera