Tanzania goes back to activity with strict precautions

Saturday June 6 2020

Coronavirus

A security officer dispenses chlorinated water to a passenger at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on March 16, 2020. PHOTO | ERICKY BONIPHACE | AFP 

BEATRICE MATERU
By BEATRICE MATERU
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Tanzania has put in place several strategies to ensure the smooth reopening of country’s economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Two months ago, the country suspended sports activities and closed schools and universities.

Now, Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu and Minister of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports Harrison Mwakyembe have issued a number of directives to minimise the spread of the virus as many activities resumes.

Universities, high school finalists, sports and tourism activities resumed officially on June 1.

Guidelines to operate within a “new normal” are in place to ensure there is a more environmentally friendly and secure environment as people resume their activities.

The new normal involves washing hands with running water and soap regularly, observing social distancing of standing and sitting at least one metre apart from one another.

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Sports stadia will only take half their capacity during live matches and people must wear face masks. The elderly and those with underlying medical conditions can only watch matches from home.

“Although all precautionary measures will be taken, we strongly advise those at high-risk for severe illness from Covid-19, that is older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions, to follow through sports activities from home,” said Ms Mwalimu.

Disruption

Since the announcement of the first case on March 16, the Covid-19 has disrupted many regular aspects of life.

To return to normal, measures include decontamination of school and college compounds including hostels as directed by the Health ministry, provide relevant knowledge on the pandemic, putting in place running water and soap at the entrances, and ensuring students and staff are observing social distancing.

“Schools and university administration should ensure all precautionary measures are being followed by both students and staff. With these measures in place, we recommend schools and college institutions to use health experts to effectively provide Covid-19 education and to monitor the implementation of these guidelines,” said Ms Mwalimu.

Tanzania never issued a formal country lockdown although social gatherings were suspended.

On the streets, the way of life has not changed much since March, as only a few individuals wear masks in public places.

However, the government continues to insist on taking precautions until the virus is completely eradicated in the country.

The government spokesman and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports Hassan Abbas said, “Despite the fact that infection rate and number of patients have greatly slowed in the country, the disease is not completely eradicated hence each individual and their respective sports leader in the country will have to continue taking precautions as per the health ministry guidelines.”

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