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Catholic Church in Tanzania ‘Not Allowed” to test for Coronavirus

The Catholic Church in Tanzania says sixty nuns and 25 priests have died in Tanzania in the last two months. They had all shown symptoms of coronavirus.

The BBC reports that the Catholic Church, which has previously been outspoken about what it sees as a hidden epidemic, has warned Tanzanians to take Covid-19 precautions more seriously. Tanzania is one of the few countries in the world not to have publish its virus data. Tanzania has not issued any statistics on Covid-19 since May last year.

President John Magufuli has up until now downplayed the virus, with Tanzania’s health minister last month saying that Tanzania had no plans to vaccinate, despite pleas from the World Health Organization for Tanzania to review its position on the vaccines currently being rolled out through the Covax distribution scheme.

Meanwhile, the secretary of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference, Father Charles Kitima, said the Covid-19 threat was alive in Tanzania. He said that the church was not allowed to test for Covid-19 at its 500 health centers, so could not say whether the deaths of the clergy had been caused by coronavirus. He added, however, that they had all shown signs of infection, including “respiratory challenges”. Further, the churches health centers did not have the equipment required to test for the coronavirus.

The BBC reports that this is the second time this year that the church has spoken out about the threat of the pandemic in Tanzania. In January it reported a noticeable spike in deaths in its parishes.

Umm Muhammed Umar


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