Tanzania’s main opposition leader has said President John Magufuli, an avowed coronavirus sceptic out of public view for nearly two weeks, is in India receiving medical treatment for COVID-19 and is in a serious condition. Tundu Lissu, who lost last year’s election to Magufuli, on Thursday cited medical and security sources in Kenya for his information that the president had been transferred from a hospital in Kenya to India and was in a coma – but did not provide evidence. Tanzanian government spokesmen have stayed mum during days of speculation over the 61-year-old Magufuli’s whereabouts and health. Magufuli has played down the threat from COVID-19, saying God and remedies such as steam inhalation would protect Tanzanians. He has mocked coronavirus tests, denounced vaccines as part of a Western conspiracy to take Africa’s wealth, and opposed mask-wearing and social distancing. “His COVID denialism in tatters, his prayer-over-science folly has turned into a deadly boomerang,” Lissu tweeted in the early hours of Thursday. According to Tanzania’s constitution, Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan would take over for the rest of the five-year term if the president is unable to discharge duties.
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