Tanzania Govt Bolsters Steps as Cases Rise

Government has increased testing facilities across the country, with new laboratories set up in seven regions

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa on Monday unveiled new strategies adopted by the government to curb the COVID-19 outbreak, as the number of cases in the country rose to 24.

Speaking during the winding up of his budget speech, the Premier assured the House that the Government had strengthened preventive and testing measures and that it was using available resources to fight the scourge.

The Premier said the Government has increased testing facilities across the country, with new laboratories set up in seven regions of Mwanza, Tanga, Coast, Dodoma, Kigoma, Mbeya and Morogoro. Test results from those regional laboratories would, however, be approved by the Government Chemist and announced by the identified Government officials, said Mr. Majaliwa.

The Premier, who informed the House that four more cases were reported in the past two days, insisted that self-quarantine is mandatory to all people who arrive from outside the country and all who are suspected to have infections.

Mr. Majaliwa said staying in quarantine is mandatory and that no one should go against the order, noting the Government has ordered for allocation of special areas at borders for quarantining those who arrive from abroad and that special protective gears have been provided to health experts in all those areas.

The Prime Minister cited the Cabinet Minister who refused to go into quarantine in Zanzibar, saying measures were taken immediately and that the Minister in question was quarantined accordingly.

Quarantines have been selected to cater different needs, according to one's financial muscles, and they include free the Premier said.

"We have allocated free dormitories for those who are not in a good financial position to pay for hotels and there are also hotels for those who wish to stay there, we have also made arrangements for food and other crucial services," he explained.

According to Mr. Majaliwa, all Regional Commissioners have been directed to allocate areas for quarantine especially at districts in borders.

"I have contacted all RCs and so far they have already allocated areas for quarantine, therefore we are taking this matter seriously," he stressed.

On the other hand, Mr. Majaliwa stressed that the information on COVID-19 must be given by the identified authorities and not the Regional Commissioners or District Commissioners as it has been happening recently, insisting that only the Minister for Health, the Prime Minister and if needs be, the Vice-President, or the President would issue the updates on the contagion.

Mr. Majaliwa told Parliament the Government would strongly consider the advice and recommendations presented by the MPs with regards to the fight against the deadly virus.

Responding to some questions that were raised during MPs contributions to his budget speech, the Premier said his office will work on the legislators' valuable contributions for the benefit of the Government and the public at large.

The Parliament overwhelmingly passed the budget proposal of 435bn/- for the Premier's Office and the Parliament Fund for 2020/21 financial year.

The budget is up by 59 per cent against 272.9bn/- of 2019/20 fiscal year. Asking the Parliament to endorse the amount last Thursday, the PM said 313bn/- was for his office and institutions under his docket while 122bn/- was for the Parliament Fund.

He said his office was planning to use 88.4bn/- for recurrent and 224.3bn/- for development expenditure. For Parliament Fund, the Premier said 113.5bn/- was allocated for recurrent budget and 8.2bn/- for development.

Earlier, winding up the Prime Minister's budget speech, the Minister for Energy, Dr. Medard Kalemani said Tanzania now tops the African continent in rural electrification, revealing that the Government has already spent 2.8tri/- in the project.

On Hoima-Tanga crude oil pipeline construction, from Uganda to Tanga, the Minister said everything is going on as planned and that the Government is looking forward to paying compensation to people whose areas would be seized to pave way for the project.

On her part, the Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Joyce Ndalichako confirmed that the Government has received 1.15trl/- World Bank loan and that it will implement it in accordance with the agreed terms.

The Minister warned teachers and parents on conducting extra studies (tuition) at this time when schools are closed because of the Coronavirus.

"I would like to ask all RCs and DCs to make sure there are no such illegal businesses," she said.