I will not put Dar es Salaam on lockdown, Magufuli says

Tanzanian President John Magufuli. FILE PHOTO

Dar es Salaam. Tanzanian President John Magufuli has ruled out the possibility of locking down the country’s commercial hub, Dar es Salaam, even as the novel coronavirus continues to spread.

“There are those who have suggested that we lockdown Dar es Salaam. This is not possible,” he said yesterday.

“Dar es Salaam is the only centre where we collect almost 80 percent of the country’s revenue. We can continue taking all measures to curb the virus but not by locking down Dar es Salaam,” he added.

Mr Magufuli was addressing a joint meeting of heads of defence and security in his home town Chato where he touched on several issues, chief among them the fight against Covid-19.

The country’s virus cases rose by 30 to reach a total of 284.

According to the president, there are several people who have recovered (almost 100) but very few have since been declared officially.

“Preach positive messages about the pandemic because it is not true that everyone who dies it is because of the coronavirus,” he said.

He also touched on the virus quarantine period saying there was no sense in keeping people for a very long time even when they have been confirmed negative.

He welcomed efforts by financial institutions such as the World Bank to allow economies that have been hit by coronavirus to borrow money, but was rather sceptical on how this was going to solve problems in these countries.

“Instead of giving us the offer to borrow more money the World Bank should waive some of the loans even by certain percentages,” he said.  

“Every month we use almost Tsh700 billion to service our debts with a huge chunk going to the World Bank, so by giving us such relief it will allow us to build our economy.”

He called upon other African countries to join hands in asking the international financial institutions to waive such debts.