Tanzania suspends laboratory head after president questions coronavirus tests

Test kits prove faulty as they return positive results on goat and pawpaw fruit among several non-human samples submitted for testing.

Mordechai Sones ,

Coronavirus, Tanzania
Coronavirus, Tanzania
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Reuters this week reported that Tanzania has suspended the head of its national health laboratory in charge of testing coronavirus and ordered an investigation, a day after President John Magufuli questioned the tests’ accuracy.

Magufuli said on Sunday the imported test kits were faulty as they had returned positive results on a goat and a pawpaw fruit — among several non-human samples submitted for testing, with technicians left deliberately unaware of their origins.

He did not specify the kits' origin country or why authorities were suspicious of the results.

Acting Health Ministry Communications head Catherine Sungura Monday said in a statement that the director of the laboratory and its quality assurance manager had been immediately suspended “to pave way for the investigation”.

As of Monday, Tanzania reported 480 cases of COVID-19 and 18 deaths, according to a Reuters tally based on government and World Health Organization data, but unlike most other African countries, Tanzania sometimes goes days without offering updates.

Pawpaw fruit: Coronavirus positive?
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Tanzania
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