Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Home News Reports Tanzania President claims goat and papaya samples tested positive for coronavirus, suspends national lab...

Tanzania President claims goat and papaya samples tested positive for coronavirus, suspends national lab head for ‘faulty testing’

Earlier, the President had asked Tanzanians to 'pray' the Chinese coronavirus away.

Tanzania President John Magufuli suspended the country’s national lab head after goat and papaya (fruit) samples tested positive for coronavirus. He alleged that the testing was faulty for COVID-19. On May 3, the President of Tanzania, John Magufuli, had claimed reportedly that the imported Coronavirus test kits were faulty and unreliable.

Earlier, the President had asked Tanzanians to ‘pray’ the Chinese coronavirus away. Magufuli had then instructed the security forces to check the coronavirus kits wherein random non-human samples were collected and tested. These samples included goat, papaya, car oil and other things. The lab technicians were deliberately not informed about the origins of the samples. Hence, when the goat and the papaya samples tested positive, the Tanzanian President said that this would mean that some of those humans who have tested positive for coronavirus, may not really have been infected.

According to Magufuli, the car oil sample was named as ‘Jabil Hamza’, 30-year-old male and ‘his’ test came back negative. Jackfruit sample nicknamed 45-year-old Sarah Samuel tested ‘unconclusive’ for coronavirus. Papaya sample was codenamed 26-year-old ‘Elizabeth Ane’ tested ‘positive’ for coronavirus. A sample from a kware bird and a goat tested positive too while a sheep tested negative. “This way all papayas and goats should also be in isolation,” the President said.

Tanzania cracks down on health officials

After the non-human samples tested positive for coronavirus, the Tanzanian Government had decided to sack the laboratory director and the quality assurance manager to constitute a 10-person committee that would investigate the matter. This was informed by the acting head of communications at the Health Ministry, Catherine Sungura. The Head of the Government Medical Stores Department was also suspended but no reason was cited.

Madagascar herbal drink

According to a report by the fact-checking website Snopes, the viral video is a part of a televised remark made on May 3 about Magufuli’s plans to import a herbal drink from Madagascar which he believes to be the cure for the deadly pandemic. The President has been firm in his resolve despite no evidence that can prove the efficacy of such a tonic.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), scientists, and other public health officials have cautioned people against self-medicating on unproven remedies of the Chinese virus. They have recommended social distancing instead as a means to avoid exposure to the deadly pathogen.

They are concerned that the Madagascar health drink may provide resistance against the drug. The National Academy of Medicine of Madagascar has clarified on April 20, “It is a drug whose scientific evidence has not yet been established, and which risks damaging the health of the population, in particular, that of children.”

In the viral video, the President also cast aspersions about the credibility of national laboratories, besides alleging mishandling of samples and exaggerated positive results. After claiming that goat samples had tested positive for the Chinese virus, Magufuli said, “That means there is a possibility for technical errors or these imported reagents have issues.”

Politics at play

Reportedly, the claims made by Magufuli was a means to distract his countrymen from the apparent mishandling of the pandemic. The President of Tanzania has also come under fierce criticism for not announcing lockdown in the country and encouraging people to congregate in places of worship instead.

A leader from the Opposition has also defended the national laboratory. John Nkengasong, President of CDA (Africa) told Reuters that the tests in Tanzania are working well. The truth behind Magafuli’s assertions could not be substantiated by Snopes as no evidence exists besides his own ‘testimony.’

Repercussions

A reader from Tanzania wrote to Snopes alleging that the claims made by the country’s President have created confusion amongst his friends and family. I’m afraid that people might actually refuse to test/avoid being tested out of fear of getting infected, he said.

Tanzania, in contrast to other African countries, does not provide regular updates about the number of Coronavirus cases in the country. However, as per data website worldometers, as of May 11, the country has reported 509 live cases of the Chinese virus, besides 21 deaths. In general, Africa has a fewer number of cases, perhaps due to low testing rates (500 tests per million people).

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

Pfizer wanted Brazil, Argentina to put military bases, Federal reserve as collateral: Why India kept Pfizer away and how the usual suspects are wrong

Pfizer has been accused of countries in Latin America of pledging their sovereign assets, military bases and financial reserves to protect itself from any adverse fallout of the vaccine

OpIndia Exclusive: Tata Communications suffers data leak, hackers claim to have sold access to company’s servers, over 50GB data still up for sale

As per two posts by hackers on a hackers' forum, they have gained access to Tata Communications servers and sold them.

‘Victim card’: Netizens react as ‘comedian’ Munawar Faruqui vows to quit social media, political jokes

Munawar Faruqui has now announced that he would quit making political jokes and leave social media platforms.

While opposition leaders claim credit for Sputnik-V vaccine approval, here’s how it is the latest step in a process that began in Sep 2020

The approval for Sputnik-V vaccine today has suddenly given some people cause to fall prey to their own false notions.

SEC gives emergency use approval to Russia’s Sputnik-V to combat Covid-19 in India: All you need to know about the vaccine

Sputnik-V will become the third approved Covid-19 vaccine in India if the Drugs Controller General of India approves the recommendation.

Attempts to draw false equivalence between the Kumbh Mela and Tablighi Jamaat congregation do not make sense: Here’s why

Attempts are being made to draw false equivalences between the Kumbh Mela and the Tablighi Jamaat congregation last year.

Recently Popular

After explosive Clubhouse confessions, Prashant Kishor starts building ground to blame only Mamata Banerjee if Bengal is lost: Here’s how

While trying to fire-fight fall-out from Clubhouse conversation, Prashant Kishor has set narrative to blame Mamata Banerjee and TMC for West Bengal loss

Maharashtra Congress leader slams Aaditya Thackeray for clearing Rs 3,693 crores to renovate bungalows of Shiv Sena corporators

Janardan Chandurkar requested governor to intervene after Aaditya Thackeray allotted Rs3,693 crores to Shiv Sena corporators

Watch: Arnab Goswami’s special message for Barkha Dutt after Sachin Vaze lands in Taloja Jail

Without explicitly naming Barkha Dutt, Arnab Goswami slammed the journalist for celebrating his unlawful arrest.

Asked BARC to pay if they wanted to avoid torture: Sachin Vaze, money laundering and the Rs 30 lakh bribe in TRP case

Citing sources, TOI reported that BARC officials had admitted to the ED about making such a payment to Sachin Vaze via an inspector.

Rafiqul Islam Madani: All you need to know about the Bangladeshi dwarf cleric who preaches Islamic radicalism and wants to capture Delhi

"If we have to be martyred opposing Modi, then, we are all willing to be martyred", Rafiqul Islam Madani had said ahead of Modi's Bangladesh visit

Attempts to draw false equivalence between the Kumbh Mela and Tablighi Jamaat congregation do not make sense: Here’s why

Attempts are being made to draw false equivalences between the Kumbh Mela and the Tablighi Jamaat congregation last year.
- Advertisement -

 

Connect with us

254,077FansLike
528,672FollowersFollow
24,200SubscribersSubscribe