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Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hires Tony Blair to Handle Fight vs COVID and Rebuild Country’s International Reputation

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has made two official visits to Tanzania since Samia Suluhu Hassan assumed the presidency in March this year after the sudden death of her predecessor, John Magufuli.

Government officials say that the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change has been hired by President Samia to handle two of her administration’s key projects: the fight against Covid-19 and rebuilding Tanzania’s international reputation.

In July, Blair paid his first courtesy call to Tanzania where he and President Samia discussed how to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

Blair said his institute is responsible for facilitating the testing and distribution of vaccines, and may help Tanzania to access top vaccine producers.

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Tanzania Receives 1st Batch of COVID-19 Vaccines

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (AP) — Tanzania on Saturday received its first batch of 1 million Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines donated by the U.S. government.

Tanzania had been among the few countries in Africa yet to receive vaccines or start inoculating its population, mainly because its former leader had claimed prayer had defeated COVID-19 in the country.

The vaccines were received by Foreign Affairs Minister Liberata Mulamula and the U.S. ambassador to Tanzania, Donald Wright, at the Julius Nyerere International Airport in the country’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.

Former Tanzanian President John Magufuli, who died in March, had refused to accept vaccines after he claimed three days of prayer had healed the country of the virus in June 2020.

Magufuli, 61, was among the world’s most prominent skeptics of COVID-19. Though his official cause of death was reported to be cardiac arrest, Magufuli’s critics believe he died of COVID-19.

Magufuli’s deputy, Samai Suluhu Hassan, took over as president in line with the country’s constitution and became the first female president in Tanzania.

Hassan has reversed Tanzania’s practice of denying COVID-19′s spread in the East African country.

Source: AP

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Breaking News: Tanzania Records 408 COVID Cases With 284 On Ventilators

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Tanzania to request to join COVAX vaccine-sharing facility – WHO

NAIROBI, June 17 (Reuters) – Tanzania plans to request to join the COVAX global vaccine-sharing facility, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday, the latest sign of the country’s change of tack following the death of its COVID-19 sceptic president in March.

Former President John Magufuli had underplayed the pandemic and expressed scepticism of vaccines, but his successor Samia Suluhu Hassan has sought to gradually bring the country into line with global public standards for tackling COVID-19.

The nation of more than 58 million people is one of just four African countries that have yet to start vaccination campaigns, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We have received information that Tanzania is now formally working to join the COVAX facility,” Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, told a news conference.

Tanzanian authorities were not immediately reachable for comment.

In another indication of the country’s new approach, its finance minister said last week that the government has asked the International Monetary Fund for a $571 million loan to help it tackle the challenges caused by the pandemic.

Tanzania stopped reporting COVID-19 cases and deaths in May 2020 and despite other policy changes by the new president, has not resumed reporting data.

Source: REUTERS