The President of Tanzania, John Magufuli on Sunday said samples from pawpaw and goat tested positive for COVID-19 in his country.
Magufuli has therefore dismissed the quality of the test kits imported into the country for COVID-19 testing procedures.
He said during an event in Chato in the north west of Tanzania that he had instructed Tanzanian security forces to check the quality of the kits.
Officials had randomly obtained several non-human samples, including those from a pawpaw, a goat and a sheep, but had assigned them human names and ages.
These samples were then submitted to Tanzania’s laboratory to test for the coronavirus, with the lab technicians left deliberately unaware of their origins.
Magufuli said it was possible some people were being tested positive when in fact they were not infected by the coronavirus.
He said “There is something happening. I said before we should not accept that every aid is meant to be good for this nation.”
Magufuli said the quality of the kits should be investigated. He has already been chided by the WHO for his government’s handling of the crisis.
WHO chides Tanzania
The WHO is unhappy with the measures being rolled out and lack of transparency as the rate of infection continues to increase in the country.
Tanzania has not restricted movement of citizens but large public gatherings have been banned and schools and universities closed.
But markets remain open likewise churches and mosques as President John Magufuli claims the coronavirus cannot harm the bodies of worshippers.
“You haven’t seen me fearing to take communion, because corona[virus] is satanic and can’t survive in Jesus’ body. It will be destroyed,” Magufuli told worshippers in a church in the capital, Dodoma.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa told a virtual news conference that “We are observing countries taking an approach to responding at different speeds,” when asked how worried she is about the situation in Tanzania.
“Through our country team and working with technical partners on the ground, we are continuing to advise the government in order to have those policy decisions taken based on data that will enable the government to get on top of the situation,” she said.