...Govt shuts universities and colleges
ALL universities and colleges across the country have been shut with immediate effect for thirty days in government’s another bold step aimed at preventing further spread of the coronavirus.
Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa announced the decision yesterday, while revealing that two more coronavirus cases were recorded in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, making it a total of three confirmed cases so far.
In a televised media briefing, the Premier said the new patients include a 61-year old American citizen, and a German national who is in Zanzibar.
The decision to close universities and colleges came a day after the government announced a 30-day closure of all nursery, primary and secondary schools in the country.
“Most students of higher learning institutions are now on holiday, therefore they shouldn’t go back to colleges until further notice and for those who are in examinations, they should stop with immediate effect, so that to avoid mass gathering,” the Prime Minister directed.
Mr Majaliwa also instructed the Minister for Education, Science and Technology Prof Joyce Ndalichako to revisit the schedule of final examinations for students of teaching colleges in May.
The PM, however, insisted that people should continue with their daily activities as the government continuously assesses the situation and will be updating the public with accurate information frequently.
He insisted that normal services such as shops, markets and transport should continue with maximum attention paid to all preventive measures against further spreading of coronavirus.
“For commuter buses, operators should make sure that their vehicles are not overloaded with passengers,” he noted.
He reassured the country that the government was taking all possible measures to control the spread of the disease in the country, noting the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, was working hard to address the problem.
On Tuesday, the government suspended school programmes for a month. It also announced the postponement of form six national examination which was scheduled to commence on May 4, this year, while asking students to remain calm as the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology was working on the new timetable which will also be determined on the success of the anti-Covid-19 fight.
The government also suspended unnecessary gatherings such as sport activities, music concerts, political activities, graduations and other social activities. Mr Majaliwa directed ministries and institutions to suspend all seminars, workshops, symposium and all meetings which involve participants from the worst hit countries.
He further directed all regional and district commissioners in the areas with quarantines centres to ensure availability of all needed equipment all the time.
Going forward, he reminded Tanzanians to use social media properly by not disseminating false information as they will mislead others and cause severe impact, instead they should keep observing the guidelines issued by the government to protect themselves.
“We should stop making jokes out of this coronavirus on social media, it’s too bad,” he warned.
And, those who suspect the presence of a patient with coronavirus symptoms should report to the authorities for immediate response through free toll numbers 0800110124, 0800110125 and 0800110037.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has appealed to Member States of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to make joint efforts in the fight against deadly global pandemic-Covid-19 and adhere to health procedures in a bid to contain the spread of the disease.
The Premier warned of the economic consequences if the disease further spread across member countries, saying there will be far-reaching repercussions across the entire region.
"We must fight it and prevent new infections by strictly adhering to containment measures.
This is a big war which we must fight, otherwise it will affect our economies in the region," Mr Majaliwa said yesterday in Dar es Salaam when opening the SADC council of ministers video-conference.
He emphasized: "On behalf of SADC, I call upon member states to unite and jointly pray to our Almighty God in this fight against the Covid-19, along with continuous adherence to health procedures in controlling the disease."
At Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre (JNICC) Tanzania's ministers joined their counterparts from 13 countries out of 16 to follow the session through a video conference mode.
The ministers' conference was preceded by the senior officials' video conference which was held for two days from Monday this week.
"As you may be aware that we were forced to conduct the meeting via videoconferencing following an advice from SADC ministers responsible for health who met under urgency in the city recently," the Premier noted.
The ministers recommended a videoconferencing method as preventive measures against spread of the global coronavirus pandemic in the region.
A day later, chairperson of the SADC council of ministers Prof Palamagamba Kabudi revealed that the planned meetings of the senior officials and council of ministers would no longer be conducted face-to-face.
The Tanzania Telecommunications Company (TTCL) facilitated the SADC videoconferencing.
Earlier, welcoming the Prime Minister, the Chairperson of the SADC council of ministers, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi, said during the one-day conference the ministers would receive and discuss a report on the preparation of the community's vision 2050 and strategic plan.
"We need new strategic ideas that will provide guidance for continued benefits arising from our integration," said Prof Kabudi, who doubles as Tanzania's Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation.
He noted that the vision should serve as a tool for addressing challenges facing the community and the world such as youth unemployment, and empowering special groups economically.