On Tuesday, April 14, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa announced the cancelation of this year's Union Day and Labor Day celebrations on Sunday, April 26, and Friday, May 1, respectively, due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Union Day is held to commemorate the anniversary of the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanzania, whilst Labor Day celebrates both workers' rights and the changing of the seasons.
On Sunday, April 12, the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority announced a suspension of all international passenger flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cargo flights are exempt from the suspension, but crew members will be quarantined at government facilities during their stay. President John Magufuli announced that the country will not be closing its borders due to humanitarian concerns, as the closure would impact land-locked countries in the region dependent on its ports.
On Saturday, April 4, authorities announced that all inbound travelers are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine in government-designated facilities at their own expense. Commercial cargo vehicles will need to declare their final destination upon entry to the country and self-quarantine onboard their vehicle for the duration of their stay. Meanwhile, all tourist hotels have also been closed as a precautionary measure.
The government suspended political gatherings and rallies on Tuesday, March 17, a day after the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the country. Sports activities have been suspended and schools, colleges, and universities closed. These measures were originally put in place until Monday, April 13, but have since been extended indefinitely.
To date, there have been 59 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, with three associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantine measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.