Tanzanian government denies rumors that president ill with Covid-19

Tanzanian President John Magufuli
Tanzanian President John Magufuli

dpa/GNA – The Tanzanian government on Friday assured citizens that President John Magufuli was doing well, after days of unconfirmed reports that he was diagnosed with Covid-19.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa stressed in a video released by his office that “these rumors are circulated by Tanzanians who do not wish this country good,” in apparent reference to tweets by an opposition politician who currently lives in exile in Belgium.

Magufuli’s absence from the public eye recently fueled speculation in the past few days that he was ill. He was rumored to have been flown to a hospital in Nairobi after his health deteriorated.

Majaliwa said the president, who’s been in office since 2015, was continuing to work on plans for the country’s development. “I feel sorry for those who wish the president is sick. How does that help them?” he said, noting that the president doesn’t need to be seen in public all the time as long as the government is functioning well.

Magufuli has long denied the existence of Covid-19 in Tanzania and downplayed the virus’ threat, recommending prayers and steam baths.

The former German colony with a population of around 58 million has not published any new coronavirus infection figures since May 2020.

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