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Magufuli pledges to get herbal treatment for virus

Sunday May 03 2020
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Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli speaks during a press conference at the State House in Nairobi, Kenya, on October 31, 2016. PHOTO | SIMON MAINA | AFP

By JAMES KAHONGEH

Tanzanian President John Magufuli says he will dispatch a plane to Madagascar to get a herbal treatment for Covid-19.

“I have communicated with Madagascar and they already have written a letter saying they have Covid-19 treatment. We will send a plane to bring the drugs so that Tanzanians can also benefit,” the head of state said in a television address, adding that he is “working day and night” to save the lives of Tanzanians.

The herbal tonic, marketed as Covid-Organics, has been touted as a cure for coronavirus by the country’s president.

Covid-Organics is produced from artemisia plant, the source of an ingredient used in a malaria treatment.

But the World Health Organisation has said there is no proof of any cure in the herbal tonic.

Tanzania has reported 480 cases of coronavirus since the pandemic broke out. Kenya has 465 cases.

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In his Labour Day address to the nation on Friday, Mr Magufuli asked Tanzanians to keep working and ignore naysayers “who don’t wish Tanzania well”.

"Some people are asking us to close down our markets. Where will we buy food for our six million people in Dar es Salaam?’’ President Magufuli asked as he branded those asking for such closures “short-sighted”.

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He added: "Do not be scared by the whims of short-sighted people. Our enemies want us to do such foolish things (close the markets). The situation is even worse in developed countries, who closed their markets."

He said some rich countries, in spite of all their financial muscle, had lost more than 50,000 people to Covid-19, arguing that closure of businesses wasn’t the solution to the virus that has claimed nearly 250,000 lives globally.

"In Tanzania, we won’t copy and paste what everyone else is doing. Let’s keep working, observe the precautions and ignore the naysayers," he said.

Mr Magufuli has been on record claiming that the virus cannot harm the faithful, encouraging them to keep praying for protection.

He recently ordered security agencies to investigate the national referral laboratory over the ever rising positive results.

He accused the lab staff of alleged “contravention” and “sabotage”. In the investigation, the head of state said they took samples from a goat, a sheep, a pawpaw, a rabbit, engine oil, jack fruit and a bird without revealing the sources to the lab staff.

He said tests on samples taken from a goat, a pawpaw, a jack fruit and a bird returned positive results.

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