Own Correspondent|Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli has shocked the world after announcing that the country will not shut down places of worship over the Coronavirus pandemic because that is where true healing is found.
On Sunday, Magufuli told a congregation in Tanzania that the COVID-19 virus is Satanic and cannot survive in the body of Christ.
“We didn’t shut down churches and mosques because that is where there is real healing. Corona cannot survive in the body of Christ, it will burn,” he said to deafening cheers from the congregation.
Magufuli has been on the receiving end of social media criticism for allegedly misleading his people to assemble in churches, which puts them at a higher risk of contracting and spreading the virus.
Oppostion politician Zitto Kabwe criticized Magufuli’s comments and urged him to close mosques and churches to add to measures to fight the outbreak. “Let’s not argue with science,” Kabwe said in Swahili on his Twitter account. “Coronavirus is very bad.” On Saturday, Lazaro Nyalandu, a member of the central committee of the main opposition party Chadema called on the government to ban all public gatherings and close the country’s borders.
Magufuli’s comments came as neighboring countries expanded restrictions to reduce contagion. Kenya suspended all international passenger flights and stopped public meetings including religious gatherings. In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni closed borders, exempting cargo shipments and a set limit on crew numbers.
Tanzania closed schools and suspended sports events on March 17, a day after the government confirmed its first coronavirus case. In the speech announcing new Covid-19 infections, Magufuli gave additional directives including quarantining travelers from countries that reported cases at their own cost.
Across the world, nations have suspended all public gatherings including church services as one of the ways to minimize the chances of the virus spreading.
#StayAtHome has been trending on Twitter worldwide for the whole weekend. Why would Magufuli want his people to attend church? ignorance?
Tanzania has confirmed 12 cases of Coronavirus.