Fear of the coronavirus superseded skepticism in Tanzania this week following the death of a well-known politician in Zanzibar. Mourners showed up at public memorials wearing face masks and brandishing disinfectant.
First Vice President Seif Sharif Hamad of the semi-autonomous Zanzibar archipelago was buried on the island of Pemba on Thursday. His death at a hospital on the mainland the previous day reportedly came after he contracted COVID-19
Thousands thronged the public prayer services held for Hamad on the Tanzanian mainland in Dar es Salaam, a rare many wearing masks and washing their hands on-site.
The senior politician from the semi-independent Zanzibar achipelago publicly announced he was suffering from the virus three weeks ago. His death has been fueling talk of the virus on social media, with many wondering if there are in fact more active cases in Tanzania and Zanzibar than they previously thought.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, Tanzanian authorities have repeatedly downplayed the pandemic — for the most part, citizens asked very few questions