Tanzania has recorded 100 cases of Covid-19 in the third wave, 70 patients of whom are in critical condition and on ventilators, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan said Monday.
She spoke during a meeting with editors at the State House in Dar es salaam Monday evening.
This is the first time in more than a year that Tanzania is releasing Covid statistics. It last released Covid-19 data in April 2020 and the then president John Magufuli’s administration denied Covid existence in the country.
President Samia has adopted a completely different approach to dealing with the pandemic since ascending to power on March 19, following Magufuli's death on March 17.
She said on Monday that as soon as she was sworn in as President, she embarked on ways to adopt globally-accepted measures of preventing the spread of the coronavirus, including vaccination.
Meanwhile, the Tanzanian government says it will spend at least $470 million to purchase Covid-19 vaccines and bail out sectors that were severely hit by the pandemic.
The President further said Tanzania has registered for the Covax initiative and will therefore be ready to administer the vaccine doses in the near future.
“We have $470 million to order vaccines and equipment to use in the fight against coronavirus,” she said.
She added that vaccination will be voluntary to give citizens the opportunity to choose what is best for them.
“We have decided to vaccinate voluntarily. Whoever wants to be vaccinated can be vaccinated…there are many Tanzanians, including businesspeople, who have already vaccinated in Dubai and in other places,” she said.
The President did not name the vaccine the country will procure given many nations have developed jabs for the killer virus which brought global economies to their knees.
Recently, the government applied for a $571 million loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help it tackle economic challenges resulting from the pandemic.
Tabling the government’s Tsh36.3 trillion ($15.78 billion) 2021/22 budget in Parliament on June 10, the government said the IMF loan was a low-interest loan aimed at tackling the social and economic impacts of Covid-19.
IMF officials in Dar es Salaam and Washington were quoted by Reuters as confirming talks on the matter, noting, however, that Tanzania would have to provide information on Covid-19.