While his counterparts Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni closed all places of worship to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Tanzania’s John Pombe Magufuli chose otherwise.
Once described as ‘Bulldozer’, Magufuli says ‘’Corona is the devil and it cannot survive in the body of Jesus.’’
Just before announcing six more confirmed cases of the virus to take the country’s total to 12 on Sunday, Magufuli was in church where he likened the pandemic to Satan, needing divine intervention to be quelled.
Tanzania should take precautions but the government hasn’t prohibited prayers in mosques and churches because that’s where “there is true salvation,” Magufuli said in Swahili during a church service in the capital, Dodoma.
Tanzania closed schools and suspended sports events on March 17, a day after the government confirmed its first coronavirus case. In the speech announcing new Covid-19 infections, Magufuli gave additional directives including quarantining travelers from countries that reported cases at their own cost.
Magufuli’s comments came as neighboring countries expanded restrictions to reduce contagion. Kenya suspended all international passenger flights and stopped public meetings including religious gatherings.
Tanzania President: we are not closing places of worship. That's where there is true healing. Corona is the devil and it cannot survive in the body of Jesus. pic.twitter.com/YE2b6wQXML
— FERDINAND OMONDI (@FerdyOmondi) March 22, 2020