There are huge restrictions on international travel at the moment. Many countries have closed their borders altogether, other countries are restricting visitors from some countries, others are requiring a mandatory quarantine, etc.
And then you have Tanzania…
Tanzania opens with (basically) no restrictions
Tanzania’s President, John Magufuli, has announced plans to open to tourists effective immediately. There are no restrictions on where visitors can come from, and the only formality is that passengers will have to get their temperatures checked upon arrival in Tanzania. There will still be the typical requirements to wear masks and sometimes social distance while in the country, but that’s about it.
Previously the country imposed a two week quarantine period, but that is no longer in effect.
How many COVID-19 cases has Tanzania had?
Tanzania claims to have had only 21 deaths from COVID-19. The country claims to have had only a total of 509 confirmed cases, and also claims that there have only been 29 new cases since May 1, all of which were reported on one day.
Sounds amazing, eh? Well…
Why you shouldn’t go to Tanzania
For a bit of background, President Magufuli has also been quoted as saying that the economy is more important than the threat posed by coronavirus. And that’s probably the most reasonable thing he has said.
He has also claimed that his son recovered from COVID-19 using a lemon and ginger solution:
“My own son, after contracting the virus, closed himself in his room, took a lemon and ginger solution before getting well and is even able to do push-ups.”
And AIDS is also a thing, so we shouldn’t really care too much about COVID-19:
“We have had a number of viral diseases, including AIDS and measles. Our economy must come first. It must not sleep. If we allow our economy to sleep, we will not receive salaries. Life must go on.”
- He has been accused of covering up the true number of cases in the country
- He has had testing carried out on animals and fruit to demonstrate that there are false positives; rumor has it that some of these tests came back positive, and he thinks a “dirty game” is being played by the lab that analyzes the results
- He claims that international health officials are exaggerating the crisis because they’re on the “payroll of imperialists”
- He has encouraged people to go to church, because praying “can vanquish the satanic virus”
Also keep in mind that Tanzania has one of the worst records when it comes to LGBT rights under the current administration, so everyone is welcome, but not gays. In recent years the country has launched an anti-gay crackdown, including performing anal exams on men to determine if they’re gay (which makes so much sense… goodness).
Oh, Magufuli is also up for re-election this year.
There are some countries, like Iceland, that are trying to bring back tourism as responsibly as possible. And then you have Tanzania, which is opening with no restrictions, and which isn’t reporting COVID-19 cases. The president seems to think COVID-19 is a conspiracy theory against him.
So yeah, please don’t go to Tanzania right now. For the record, I’d love to visit Tanzania eventually, as I’ve met so many nice people from there and the country looks gorgeous, but I’ll wait for there to be a new administration, as I personally prefer to travel to countries without anal exams.
(Tip of the hat to Your Mileage May Vary)