Tanzania’s president has thanked a visiting Chinese minister for not wearing a mask, claiming it proves there’s no coronavirus in the country.
“I want to thank minister Wang Yi, he knows in Tanzania we don’t have Corona that’s why he’s not wearing a mask. Thank you very much Mr Wang Yi… and to demonstrate I will shake his hand as we head to share a meal together,” President John Magufuli said.
Yet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi seemed to be the odd one out in his delegation, with the rest wearing masks as seen in this video:
Tanzania hakuna corona ndiyo sababu hata Waziri Mkuu wa Mambo ya Nje wa China, Wang Yi hajavaa barakoa.- Rais Dkt. Magufuli pic.twitter.com/9Fl9yqQbDw— Swahili Times (@swahilitimes) January 8, 2021
President Magufuli has been widely criticised for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, dismissing World Health Organization guidelines that urge social distancing among other measures.
Tanzania has not for a long time released data on coronavirus infections in the country.
Mr Yi is on a five-nation tour to Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana, Tanzania and Seychelles.
“It is a good tradition of Chinese diplomacy that the foreign minister always begins a year’s overseas visits in Africa,” China’s diplomatic service quotes Mr Yi as saying.
It also says China will “despatch medical experts” and wants to “fast track” existing building projects that have been put on hold by the pandemic.
The purpose of Mr Yi’s visit to Africa is said to be the forging of “a closer community with a shared future”.