Tanzania halts passenger flights as COVID-19 cases reach 46

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Tanzania’s aviation authorities announced on Sunday the suspension of international passenger flights to the eastern African nation over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority said cargo flights will be allowed but crew members will be quarantined at designated places by the government at their own costs for the duration of their stay.

An official Twitter post by the Tanzanian government chief spokesman Hassan Abbasi confirmed the suspension of international flights, saying it was aimed at fighting the spread of the pandemic. Tanzanian President John Magufuli said on Friday that Tanzania will not close down its borders amid the COVID-19 pandemic that had as of Monday infected 46 people in the country with three recorded deaths.

Speaking shortly after attending Good Friday prayers at his native town of Chato in Geita region, Magufuli said closure of the borders will affect eight neighboring landlocked countries that depended on the port of Dar es Salaam.

On Thursday, Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Ummy Mwalimu warned that COVID-19 infections could soon spread to communities as the nation started to record local transmission cases.

  “Let me be frank. We have started recording cases of local transmission which in a few days to come will lead to transmissions at communities’ levels,” she said. “Local transmission of the virus is complicated because it will not be easy to trace the source of the patient’s infection and tracing contacts of the patient becomes more complicated,” added the minister.   

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