Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan has said it is “not proper to ignore” the coronavirus pandemic, in comments suggesting a shift from her COVID-sceptic predecessor, who downplayed the disease. Hassan announced she would create an expert coronavirus task force to advise her government, saying they would canvass global opinion on the pandemic and make recommendations about “remedies” and policies. “It is not proper to ignore it. We cannot reject or accept it without any evidence from research,” Hassan told her newly appointed permanent secretaries at a swearing-in ceremony in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday. “They [experts] will tell us more about the pandemic, and advise us about what the world is proposing. We cannot accept everything as it comes, but we also cannot isolate ourselves as an island while the world is moving in a different direction.” In another policy announcement, Hassan ordered that officials “free” media outlets banned by her predecessor, whose administration was criticised for a heavy-handed crackdown on the press.
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