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‘Fasting, Prayer Worked’ — Tanzanian President declares country COVID-19 free After New Zealand declared ‘virus-free’

By Tunde Olorungbotemi

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces the lifting of restrictions in Wellington on Monday. Photo: Getty Images

President John Magufuli of Tanzania has declared the country COVID-19 free, attributing the development to prayers and fasting from the citizens.

Speaking during a church service in Dodoma, the country’s capital, Magufuli said God has answered the prayers of the citizens and eliminated the disease in the country.

The president lauded the clerics and worshippers for not using gloves and masks for protection from the disease.

“I want to thank Tanzanians of all faiths. We have been praying and fasting for God to save us from the pandemic that has afflicted our country and the world. But God has answered us,” Magufuli said.

“I believe and I’m certain that many Tanzanians believe, that the corona disease has been eliminated by God.”

Since April, the government stopped publishing figures of COVID-19 infections in the country. The last known figure of confirmed cases in Tanzania was 509 with 21 deaths.

This has fuelled suspicion over possible cover-up by the government on the COVID-19 status in the country.

In May, Magufuli expressed worries over the testing kits imported into the country after samples conducted on them using both goat and pawpaw “tested positive” for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s government set to lift all Covid-19 restrictions except stringent border controls almost immediately, prime minister Jacinda Ardern has said, as the nation’s health officials declared that there were no longer any known, active cases of the coronavirus remaining.

“We are ready,” said Ardern at a news conference in Wellington, adding that New Zealanders had “united in unprecedented ways to crush the virus.”

Ardern has drawn global headlines and praise from the World Health Organization for her government’s approach to the virus, with a strict and cautious approach that appears to have paid off.

On 25 March she locked down the country for four weeks – requiring that most New Zealanders remained at home most of the time – before gradually easing restrictions.

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