U.S. Warns Covid-19 Is Spreading Rapidly in Tanzania

(Bloomberg) --

The U.S. warned the novel coronavirus is spreading rapidly in Tanzania, which has paused the release of official infection data, while Zambia closed its border to the country that serves as a key route for copper exports.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli earlier this month questioned the reliability of test results from the national health laboratory and ordered an investigation, saying the outbreak isn’t as bad as the results suggest. The government hasn’t released an update since April 29. The World Health Organization reports 509 infections and 21 deaths.

“All evidence points to exponential growth of the epidemic” in the country, including the port city of Dar es Salaam, the U.S. embassy said on its website Wednesday. “The risk of contracting Covid-19 in Dar es Salaam is extremely high. Many hospitals in Dar es Salaam have been overwhelmed in recent weeks.”

U.S. Warns Covid-19 Is Spreading Rapidly in Tanzania

Zambia’s government shut the border with Tanzania this week after almost half of the nation’s 446 cases were identified at the Nakonde border crossing. Many of those infected are truck drivers, according to Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya.

‘Economic War’

Tanzanian Tourism Minister Hamisi Kigwangalla on Tuesday dismissed accusations that the country isn’t doing enough to curb the pandemic as “fabrications and economic war against Tanzania.”

Tanzania has been “following all World Health Organization guidelines to the letter,” he told reporters in Arusha.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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