WHO rejects Tanzania claim tests faulty

The WHO has rejected Tanzania President John Magufuli's suggestion that COVID-19 tests are faulty.
The WHO has rejected Tanzania President John Magufuli's suggestion that COVID-19 tests are faulty.

The World Health Organisation has rejected claims by Tanzanian President John Magufuli that coronavirus tests in his country have been faulty.

"We are convinced that the tests... are not contaminated with the virus," WHO Africa director Matshidiso Moeti said in a media briefing.

"We are not in agreement with (Magufuli's) point of view," Moeti added.

The statement comes after Magufuli on Sunday said Tanzania's COVID-19 test kits had been defective, as they had provided positive results after tests from a goat and a pawpaw fruit had been submitted.

Dr John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control (CDC), said Tanzania was using test kits supplied by the Africa CDC in collaboration with the Chinese Jack Ma Foundation, which met international standards.

"Tanzania is using the same test that everyone is using," Nkengasong said, noting that it was improbable the tests were faulty.

Tanzania meanwhile suspended the director and quality control manager of its national laboratory pending an investigation after the allegedly faulty results, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

Magufuli's response to the coronavirus pandemic has received much criticism, as the east African country has implemented few measures to curb the spread of the virus.

Social distancing is hardly practised in Tanzania, where mosques and churches remain open.

Magufuli has also suggested praying and herbal steam baths could help prevent infection.

Tanzania has reported 480 coronavirus cases so far.

Australian Associated Press