Zanzibar’s First Vice President Seif Sharif Hamad has confirmed reports that he has been hospitalised saying he tested positive for coronavirus.
Mr Hamad is the chairman of the main opposition Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT-Wazalendo) in the Tanzanian archipelago, which joined the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi to form a government of national unity after the October elections last year.
“It is true I am at Mnazi Mmoja Hospital where I am being treated for Covid-19 and my wife has been isolated at home,” said Mr Hamad in a text message on Monday.
He becomes the first person to publicly reveal a Covid-19 status since April last year when President John Magufuli declared the country coronavirus-free.
There is no official Covid-19-related statistics or information available in Tanzania and issuing of unsanctioned Covid-19 information is strictly prohibited and restricted to the president, prime minister, the minister for Health and the government’s chief spokesman.
However, despite his admission authorities in Zanzibar including the acting Health minister Said Mohammed Simai said he was not aware of the vice president’s hospitalisation.
The Citizen could not reach the Health Minister Dr Dorothy Gwajima and government spokesperson, Dr Hassan Abbasi, for comment by press time.
Earlier on Monday, a statement issued by the ACT-Wazalendo secretary-general Ado Shaibu said the veteran politician and his aides were admitted at the Mnazi Mmoja Hospital in Unguja island since Friday.
“He remains under close medical supervision. We would like to take this opportunity to inform the public that Maalim Seif and his wife are progressing well. His family has been in communication with him,” the statement read.
“We also reiterate our call for all Tanzanians to take steps to protect themselves against this disease.”
Last week, President Magufuli called for caution against Covid-19 vaccines being developed by Western scientists. The president also said that Tanzania is not planning to impose Covid-19 restrictions or lockdown anytime.