Tanzania’s New President Signals U-Turn on Coronavirus Policy

Tanzania’s new president will appoint a committee to advise her on how to curb the spread of Covid-19, signaling a reversal of her predecessor’s denialism of the pandemic.

“We cannot isolate ourself as an island,” President Samia Suluhu Hassan told senior government officials in an address televised on state broadcaster TBC1. “We cannot accept everything from abroad, but we also cannot reject everything.”

Photographer: Luke Dray/Getty Images

Under her predecessor, John Magufuli, Tanzanians were asked to eschew the use of masks and to use traditional remedies. The government stopped publishing Covid-19 infection data in May, when fatalities were at 21, and said it would not procure any vaccines.

Hassan also asked newly appointed Foreign Affairs Minister Liberata Mulamula to “improve Tanzania’s relations with the international community” and told a team in talks with Barrick Gold Corp. to resolve a dispute over taxes swiftly.

“I want challenges on taxes and other issues with Barrick and other mining joint venture partners to be quickly resolved,” she said. “Let’s not reach a point where we start to flex our muscles against investors.”

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