Decrying vaccines, Tanzania leader says ‘God will protect’ from COVID-19…

FILE PHOTO: Tanzania's President John Magufuli addresses a news conference during his official visit to Nairobi, Kenya October 31, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya/File Photo

Reuters . Wed, January 27, 2021, 4:27 PM
DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) – Tanzania’s President John Magufuli said on Wednesday that no lockdown was planned because God would protect people from COVID-19 while homespun precautions such as steam inhalation were better than vaccines.

“Vaccines are not good. If they were, then the white man would have brought vaccines for HIV/AIDS,” he said in a speech in western Tanzania, contradicting the global scientific consensus and advice from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Tanzania has officially reported a total number of 509 COVID-19 infections and 21 deaths, WHO data shows, but it has not updated the figures for more than six months.

“We Tanzanians haven’t locked ourselves in and we don’t expect to lock ourselves down. I don’t expect to announce any lockdown because our God is living and He will continue to protect Tanzanians,” Magufuli said during a ceremony to open a new farm in his home town in the Chato district.

“We will also continue to take health precautions including the use of steam inhalation. You inhale while you pray to God, you pray while farming maize, potatoes, so that you can eat well and corona fails to enter your body. They will scare you a lot, my fellow Tanzanians, but you should stand firm.”

(Reporting by Nairobi newsroom; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by John Stonestreet and Gareth Jones)

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