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Magufuli shocked as Zanzibar Vice President dies of Covid-19

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Tanzania president John Magufuli is in shock after Zanzibar’s 77-year-old First Vice President Seif Sharif Hamad, who had been undergoing treatment for COVID-19 died while in hospital.

“Hamad died this morning at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar-es-Salaam where he was hospitalised,” Husein Mwinyi, president of the semi-autonomous island region of Tanzania said.

Tanzania’s President John Magufuli also expressed his condolences in a message on Twitter.

Neither leader mentioned the cause of death.

Tanzania had played down the threat of the coronavirus, which President Magufuli claims had been fended off by prayer.

President John Magufuli declared Tanzania free of the COVID-19 pandemic last year and has maintained that stance since; even as hospitals fill up and funerals proliferate, Magufuli and his government have continued to behave as if the country has been untouched by the pandemic.

President Magufuli and Zanzibar’s vice president the late Seif Sharif Hamad.

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Magufuli has further warned the country’s health ministry against rushing into embracing the Covid-19 vaccines promoted by foreign companies and countries.

Magufuli cast doubt on the global urge to develop Covid-19 vaccine claiming that little has been done to help cure other diseases like tuberculosis, HIV-Aids, malaria among other infections.

“You should stand firm. Vaccinations are dangerous. If the white man was able to come up with vaccinations, he should have found a vaccination for Aids by now; he would have found a vaccination of tuberculosis by now; he would have found a vaccination for malaria by now; he would have found a vaccination for cancer by now,” he said.

“The Health ministry must know that not every vaccination is meaningful to our nation. Tanzanians must be mindful so that we are not used for trials of some doubtful vaccinations which can have serious repercussions on our health,” he added.

Little is known in Tanzania on the number of positive cases due to the government’s stun position on the virus.

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