Tanzania’s President John Magufuli has dismissed the coronavirus test kits after they had returned positive results on samples taken from a goat and a pawpaw.
During an event in Chato in the north west of Tanzania, Magufuli said the kits had “technical errors”.
The president said he had instructed Tanzanian security forces to check the quality of the kits. They had randomly obtained several non-human samples, including from a pawpaw, a goat and a sheep, but had assigned them human names and ages.
These samples were then submitted to Tanzania’s laboratory to test for the coronavirus, with the lab technicians left deliberately unaware of their origins.
Samples from the pawpaw and the goat tested positive for COVID-19, the president said, adding this meant it was likely that some people were being tested positive when in fact they were not infected by the coronavirus.
“There is something happening. I said before we should not accept that every aid is meant to be good for this nation,” Magufuli said, adding the kits should be investigated.
Tanzania has recorded 480 cases of COVID-19 and 17 deaths.
Magufuli’s government has already drawn criticism for being secretive about the coronavirus outbreak and has previously asked Tanzanians to pray the coronavirus away.
Magufuli also announced that he had placed an order for a herbal treatment for the coronavirus touted by the president of Madagascar.
“I have already written to Madagascar’s president and we will soon dispatch a plane to fetch the medicine so that Tanzania can also benefit from it,” he said.
The herbal remedy, called “Covid Organics” and prepared by the Malagasy Institute for Applied Research, is made out of Artemisia, a plant cultivated on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar.