Tanzania’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has received a timely boost after the donation of medical supplies by the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation.
The support extended to Tanzania is part of medical equipment donation to African countries, including over 1.5 million laboratory diagnostic test kits and over 100 tons of infection prevention and control goods, by a Chinese business magnate, co-founder and former executive chairman of Alibaba Group Mr Jack Ma.
The relief initiative was launched by Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister of Ethiopia, together with the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation, as part of actions toward implementation of the Africa joint continental strategy for coronavirus, led by the African Union through the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
Tanzania received its share of the public-spirited assistance yesterday in Dar es Salaam, which included 20,000 testing kits, 100,000 masks and 1,000 medical protective suits and face shields.
The donation came at a time when Zanzibar announced that it has confirmed another coronavirus case in the Isles as it monitored 134 people who recently returned from abroad, thus taking Tanzania’s tally to 13 confirmed Covid-19 cases.
Receiving the cargo, Government Chief Medical Officer Prof Muhammed Kambi said the equipment will help health experts who will be attending suspects and victims of the COVID-19.
“Today we have received three tones- full of medical supplies donated by Jack Ma to be used in attending victims of coronavirus,” he said thanking the Officer of the Ethiopian Embassy to Tanzania Mr Tewodros Girma who represented Ambassador Yonas Yosef at the handover event.
Mr Ma, through his company, Alibaba Group has donated equipment of the same quantity to all 54 African countries that were flown to Ethiopia before they were distributed to all counties as planned.
In Ethiopia, the cargo was received by Prime Minister Mr Abiy Ahmed last Sunday and coordinated distribution of all the medical equipment to their respective final destinations.
Meanwhile, the Zanzibar government contemplates closing its entry points as Indian Ocean semi-autonomous Island confirmed its second coronavirus victim on Wednesday.
“We now have two cases of coronavirus.
BBC The Ghanaian, 24, who entered Zanzibar on March 11, was diagnosed positive, and yesterday (Tuesday) his Germany partner, aged 27, was tested positive.
They are recovering at the quarantine centre, Kidimni village,” Mr Mohamed revealed.
He said the first test on the Germany woman showed negative, but last Tuesday she tested positive after the second test.
“We’re asking people to take the war against coronavirus seriously.
It is a real threat to the world.”
The Minister for Health Hamad Rashid Mohamed said as of yesterday they were monitoring 134 people, including contacts in Pemba.
“We are mulling over closing the doors for people including citizens from outside Tanzania to enter Zanzibar. We may decide after three days from today (yesterday) to strengthen control at entry points,” the minister emphasized.
The Health Minister also warned to take stern action against traders including pharmacists who are taking the coronavirus as an advantage to sell fake hospital equipment including sanitizers, gloves, and rapid testing kits.
He said: “We have confiscated fake equipment at a shop in Fumba.
We have closed down the shop and we will take legal action against the owner.
This is unacceptable at this time of war against the COVID-19.”
Flanked by Dr Jamala Taib- General Director, Ministry of health, the minister asked for solidarity to win the war against the coronavirus which has already claimed the lives of thousands of people globally, devastatingly.