Coronavirus: Africa disease control center denies Tanzania claim its tests are faulty

People line up to receive food handouts in the Olievenhoutbos township of Midrand, South Africa on May 2, 2020. (AP)

The head of the Africa centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) on Thursday rejected an assertion by Tanzania’s president that his nation’s coronavirus tests are faulty.

On Sunday, Tanzanian President John Magufuli said the imported coronavirus test kits were faulty after they had returned positive results on a goat and a pawpaw. The next day, the head of the national health laboratory in charge of testing was suspended.

“The tests that Tanzania is using we know they are working very well,” Dr. John Nkengasong told journalists on a conference call.

The Africa CDC, along with the Jack Ma Foundation, a charity run by a Chinese billionaire, supplied the tests, Nkengasong said.

A health worker gestures colleagues during the screening and testing for COVID-19, in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, South Africa on April 8, 2020. (AP)

A health worker gestures colleagues during the screening and testing for COVID-19, in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, South Africa on April 8, 2020. (AP)

The Tanzanian Health Ministry and government spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Tanzania, where places of worship remain open, has at least 480 confirmed cases and 18 deaths, the fourth highest case load in Eastern Africa. But the data is from Sunday, the most recent day the government released figures.

Almost all other African nations release daily reports on the latest tallies on infections, fatalities and recoveries. Tanzania’s lag has prompted criticism from the country’s opposition that the government is being secretive.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:02 - GMT 07:02
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