Tanzanian laboratory heads fired after Pawpaw tests ‘positive for COVID-19’

Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli who has accused laboratory heads of working with cartels to inflate the national COVID-19 figure ./PHOTO COURTESY

Two officials of the Tanzanian national Influenza laboratory have been fired just a day after President John Pombe Magufuli accused them of colluding with cartels to hike the number of positive Coronavirus cases in the country.

The two: Dr. Nyambura Moremi the head of the national laboratory and Jacob Lusekelo the quality assurance head were axed in a letter written by the Tanzanian health minister  Ummy  Mwalimu.

The two have been fired to pave way for investigations to be conducted by a nine-man committee appointed by the health minister.

The committee which has been urged to begin investigations immediately is expected to submit their findings to the health minister within two weeks.

Tanzania has recorded 480 cases of Coronavirus, the highest from a member of the East African community.

However, Dr.Magufuli who has continued to defy WHO recommended guidelines on a ban on social gatherings surprised many on Sunday after accusing the officials working with the national laboratory of working with cartels to inflate the national figure.

READ ALSO:Tanzania’s COVID-19 cases hit 480 after 196 more test positive

Magufuli claimed that his team had submitted samples from a goat, a paw, and a Guinea fowl labeled as human samples and they all came back positive.

“An oil sample which we labeled as 30-year-old Jabil Hamza turned out negative. A goat sample turned out positive, if a goat sample is positive it means all our goats are positive and they should be placed on quarantine. Once you start getting such results, you begin to realize that something is wrong somewhere” Magufuli said.

In his state of the nation address, Magufuli said he was considering ordering a resumption of football matches in the Tanzanian Premier League.

Last week, the Tanzanian government vehemently denied reports that by NTV Kenya that 50 people had died from COVID-19 in the capital Dar es Salaam.

This came just a day after the Tanzanian opposition MPs led by the opposition leader Freeman Mbowe said they would stay away from parliament accusing the government of covering up the true extent of COVID-19 infections in the country.

Reports that the Tanzanian government is secretly burying COVID-19 victims at night have been rife on social media with users sharing videos of men dressed in hazmat suits burying individuals at night.

However, on Sunday, Magufuli warned Tanzanians against propagating the reports terming them as ‘false’.

On Saturday, Narok county commissioner Samuel Kimiti urged locals conducting business near the Tanzanian border to stop in order to minimize the chances of contracting the virus while on Sunday, Migori governor Okoth Obado urged the government to close the border after two locals with a recent travel history to Tanzania tested positive.