Turkey, citizens evacuated from Tanzania

3 Turkish citizens infected with coronavirus evacuated from Tanzania

Tanzania has not data on the pandemic since April 2020. Officially the country is free of coronavirus, but several politicians have died from COVID-19.

3 Turkish citizens infected with coronavirus were evacuated from Tanzania, East Africa, and repatriated to Turkey in a private jet of the Ministry of Health to receive treatment in their country, according to Turkish media.

The three Turkish nationals, identified as Halil A., Eyyüp K. and Oğuzhan A., arrived in an ambulance plane chartered by the Turkish Ministry of Health that landed early today in Istanbul. All three had applied for treatment in Turkey, and the Turkish government offers free ambulance planes to repatriate its citizens if they contract COVID-19 while outside the country.

Tanzania only has officially registered 509 cases of coronavirus and 21 deaths; however, the African country has not updated its data on the evolution of the pandemic since April 2020, and many international experts fear that the virus is out of control in that country or, as its president, John Magufuli, admitted on Sunday, that Tanzania “has a problem with the coronavirus.”

In Tanzania, officially, there is no coronavirus

The controversial Magufuli – nicknamed Tingatinga (the bulldozer) – is a denier of the pandemic in the style of Bolsonaro or Trump; in April, he decreed to stop collecting data on the coronavirus, assuring that it was an “imperialist sabotage” and that the best remedy to combat the virus was to pray and medicinal herbs, claiming that the country had defeated the virus and rejecting the vaccine as an “experiment of the whites”.

In Tanzania, officially, there is no coronavirus: there are no infections, there are also no deaths from COVID-19 in this country of almost 60 million inhabitants of East Africa. But the truth is that regardless of the official discourse, the coronavirus has taken the lives of several high-ranking politicians, including the vice president of the semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar, and the first secretary of the president himself.

Faced with this situation, the director general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, was “very concerned” on Saturday about the situation in Tanzania, where it is believed that the number of infected and victims of the pandemic could be very high; especially if one takes into account that several countries – such as Turkey now – have warned of cases in which their citizens have been infected with coronavirus after returning from Tanzania.