Tanzania extends school closure, bans Union, May Day celebrations as Covid-19 cases rise to 53

Tuesday April 14 2020

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa speaks during a

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa speaks during a meeting with members of the National Covid-19 Committee in Dodoma on Tuesday, 14 April 2020. With him is health minister for Tanzania, Ms Ummy Mwalimu and her counterpart from the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, Hamad Rashid. PHOTO|PMO 

By The Citizen Report @TheCitizenTZ news@tz.nationmedia.com

Dodoma. Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa extended closure of schools for an indefinite period on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, as the country registered four new coronavirus cases.

The new cases, all confirmed in Dar es Salaam, brings the total number of Covid-19 cases in Tanzania to 53.

The government suspended political gatherings and rallies, closed all schools, colleges and universities for 30 days starting March 17, 2020 being one day since the country announced its first coronavirus case.

The government also suspended sports activities such as the Vodacom Premier League and all inter school games throughout the country.

But just as the 30-day period draws closer, Mr Majaliwa announced on Tuesday that the closure would remain in force until a new announcement is made.

Speaking during a meeting with members of the National Covid-19 Committee, Mr Majaliwa said President John Magufuli has also banned Union celebrations which are normally held on April 26.

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The celebrations are held in memory of the Day when Tanganyika and Zanzibar united to form the United Republic of Tanzania. This is the 56th year of the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar. President Magufuli, said Mr Majaliwa, has also banned this year’s May Day celebrations.

May Day is celebrated on May 1 every year in commemoration of the seasons changing as well as a day to celebrating workers' rights.

“Up to date, we have a total of 53 confirmed coronavirus cases, being an increase of four more compared to the number that was reported by Monday, April 13, 2020,” reads a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

He said President Magufuli has ordered that the Sh500 million that was budgeted for the Union Day celebrations be spent on boosting the Covid-19 Special Fund for the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar.