Tanzania government calls for Covid-19 calm as Catholic bishops cautions its faithful

Wednesday January 27 2021
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Health deputy minister, Dr Godwin Mollel.

By Elias Msuya

Dar es Salaam. The government called upon Tanzanians yesterday to remain calm  and wait for its directives on the Covid-19 pandemic.
A statement by the Health deputy minister, Dr Godwin Mollel, came a few hours  after the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) issued a statement in which it reminded the Roman Catholic faithful  to take precautionary measures against a possible new wave of  coronavirus infections.
Dr Mollel told The Citizen’s sister paper, Mwananchi, yesterday that the government would issue directives pertaining to claims that there was Covid-19 in the country.
The government has repeatedly said that Tanzania was Covid-19 free. “We must leave this matter to scientists. Should there be any problem, the government will explain. People should continue with their usual productive activities ,” said Dr Mollel.
He said emphasis on hand washing should not be construed to mean that there was Covid-19 in the country.
Hand washing, he said, was helpful in many other ways beyond fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Hand washing helps in so many ways. If you ask those who say we should protect ourselves against coronavirus, they will never tell you if they had gone to be tested and that the results came out that they were positive. All they will tell you is that they have information that some people have chest pains,” he said.  In the statement addressed to archbishops and retired bishops and signed by the TEC President, Bishop Gervas Nyaisonga, the clergymen say the measures put in place to control the spread of coronavirus in the country March 2020 have shown signs of being successful. The letter headlined ‘Caution against new coronavirus and Covid-19 infections’ says after successfully containing the spread of the virus last year, Tanzania was now facing a new wave of the virus spread.
“For last year, infections dropped and we believed that we had won the war against Covid-19,” the letter reads, noting that currently, a number of countries have reported new infections which have resulted into deaths of people in their countries.
“Our country is not an island. We have every reason to take precautions and pray to God so that we can move unscathed in this pandemic,” the letter reads.  
He said it was about time the church instructed its followers to make use of all available means to protect themselves against the virus, including prayers, social distancing, hand washing and sanitising time after time.