Seif raises six points on killer virus

Sunday April 5 2020

 

Dar es Salaam. ACT-Wazalendo party chairman Seif Sharif Hamad has pointed out six things to avoid infections of the coronavirus including the need for every Tanzanian to get tested.

He also suggested the closure of ports, airports while advising international lenders to halt debt repayments by developing countries.

The veteran politician also touched on other issues including people to protect themselves against infections of Covid-19, the rise in living costs, defence and security organs not to abuse their roles, the health system and how the deadly disease has impacted on tourism.

Speaking yesterday through social media, Mr Hamad insisted that there was the need of starting to go for public testing.

He said the countries that managed to contain the disease had shown that public testing was the key measure in fighting spread of the coronavirus.

“Let me make a call to all of our fellow international health organisations to give us a big support in Zanzibar and Tanzania in general in quickly putting in place better systems of testing all those living in our society and who are at risk of contracting the coronavirus disease,” said the leader of ACT- Wazalendo.

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He said he was aware that the testing system of the virus in the country including Zanzibar was still not up to the capacity.

“We only depend on labs based in Dar es Salaam for sample testing. Let’s remember, we have no time to waste,” warned Mr Hamad.

He cautioned that it was dangerous to continue to let people go to work and return home by using public transport, particularly daladalas, without any concrete plan of going to work and returning home.

“I know that there are different plans that are being made currently to reduce congestions of workers in government offices.

“However, what we need to ask ourselves is, where is the policy of the World Health Organisation (WHO) that directs people to remain in their homes and avoid unnecessary gatherings?” queried Mr Hamad.

He said closing the country’s frontiers and ports would be one of the best moves of controlling the disease.

As for halting of debt servicing by the international community, particularly international financial institutions, for developing countries for a year, he said this would help the countries manage the burden of taking care of all those who would fall ill due to Covid-19.

Mr Hamad noted that many nations, particularly African countries, were spending a lot on servicing foreign debts. “If institutions like WHO, IMF and developed countries halt to be paid interests of these loan debts, our countries will get a relief hence having enough funds to counter the coronavirus-caused damage.”

and spend on economic activities,” he said.

Maalim Seif gave the example of Tanzania, saying it had a total foreign debt of $23 billion, equivalent to Sh 53 trillion, whose 65 percent came from international organisations and donor countries.