In the past few days, more and more countries have announced they’re going to start opening their doors to tourists from other countries, albeit with some caveats. For example:
- Iceland will open to international tourists on June 15, but upon arrival you have to go into a 14-day quarantine, take a COVID-19 test, or provide a certificate of a recent negative COVID-19 test.
- Many European countries are looking at reciprocal agreements for tourism, but are not yet opening their doors to countries outside of Europe.
However, one country has apparently beat them all and is the first country to welcome all tourists again, without any conditions.
The President of Tanzania, John Magufuli, says that COVID-19 infections in his country have decreased tremendously and he was, therefore, opening the country up to tourists immediately and unconditionally.
“I have directed the Ministry of Tourism to attract airline companies to fly their tourist and passenger scheduled planes to Tanzania with immediate effect,” Magufuli said.
Magufuli said visitors would not have to go through a 2-week quarantine but would have to get a temperature check upon entering Tanzania, and follow the country’s current rules regarding the virus (wearing of a mask, washing hands with flowing water and soap, hand sanitizing and distancing by one meter or a bit more in gatherings, and in public passenger vehicles).
To date, the African nation has officially reported only 21 deaths from coronavirus.
But before you pack up your gear to hike up Mt. Kilimanjaro or visit Serengeti National Park, you may want to keep in mind that tourism was 17.5% of the country’s gross domestic product in 2016, and employs 11% of its workforce (thank-you Wikipedia). And President Magufuli is apparently very concerned about his country’s economy:
“We have had a number of viral diseases, including AIDS and measles. Our economy must come first. It must not sleep. If we allow our economy to sleep, we will not receive salaries … Life must go on,” he said during his speech.
Even more troubling, the country hasn’t reported how many cases it’s had in about 2 weeks. However multiple hospitals in the country’s largest city are said to be overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases, to the point where its neighboring countries have become concerned. To this, Magufuli has accused international health officials of exaggerating about the crisis and has suggested select health workers, “may have been put on the payroll of imperialists.”
In past speeches and interviews, Magufuli has said he believes that natural remedies will cure people of coronavirus and has ordered samples from animals and fruit be sent to labs to be tested to prove “false positives.”
The bottom line is, this is a president that isn’t taking the virus seriously and has something of a paranoid flair while believing in conspiracies and inappropriate treatments for a potentially deadly virus.
Oh, and did I mention he’s up for re-election this year? What a coincidence.
So yeah, Tanzania is open for business, but just like the places that are 100% open in the U.S., I wouldn’t recommend going any time soon.
#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary