Dar es Salaam (Agenzia Fides) - "In two months, more than 25 Priests and 60 Nuns, Catholic nurses and doctors have died of respiratory problems", said Fr. Charles Kitima, Secretary General of the Bishops' Conference of Tanzania (TEC). "Something that has never happened before in such a short space of time", he added.
Fr. Kitima, however, affirmed that officially, it is not possible to say that all these deaths are linked to Covid-19. "We (Church leaders) do not test COVID-19 and doctors cannot tell us because not all of them are allowed to conduct tests for the virus", said Fr. Kitima.
It i sto be noted that Tanzanian authorities have not updated the data on Covid-19 since the beginning of May, leaving the latest figure of proven cases at 509 and 21 dead.
Although the Tanzanian political world denies the presence of the virus in the country, Father Kitima reminded everyone to the sense of responsibility: "Coronavirus exists. We ask you to take precautions. We need to increase our efforts to protect ourselves. We have a responsibility to protect the elderly and those with underlying health conditions by taking the necessary precautions".
Fr. Kitima then asked for greater transparency about the evolution of the pandemic in the country. "Tanzanians have a right to be given accurate scientific information on COVID-19 because that lack of factual information about the virus is causing fear among the people".
In February, the President of TEC, His Exc. Mgr. Gervais Nyaisonga, Archbishop of Mbeya, encouraged Tanzanians not to become slaves of fear, but to follow the advice of experts: "Tanzanians, we are encouraged not to be enslaved by fear. Fear is a weapon which can weaken a person".
At the end of January the local Bishops had warned the faithful about the "new wave of coronavirus infections", which has led to an increase in the number of deaths (see Fides, 29/1/2021). "Our country is not an island ... We must defend ourselves, take precautions and pray to God with all our strength so that this scourge does not reach us". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 5/3/2021)