By Mutsa Makuvaza
AIR Zimbabwe has announced resumption of the flights into Dar es Salaam from next week, a decision which has been roundly criticized as “senseless” because Tanzanian authorities have not been transparency about their COVID-19 mitigation strategy.
Tanzania is one of the countries in the world which has been in denial mode over the coronavirus pandemic, with its leader John Magufuli expressing what many health experts have described as bizarre and unfortunate remarks about COVID-19.
In its statement this Friday, Air Zimbabwe says it is resuming flights between Harare and Dar es Salaam on 2 March, flying every Tuesday and Saturday.
“The fare starts from US$410 return and US$230 one way. A COVID-19 PCR negative test certificate is required,” the airline highlighted.
Former Foreign Affairs Minister Walter Mzembi said Air Zimbabwe was making a “stupid move” which could reverse the gains the country had made over the past seven weeks of a hard national lockdown.
“Until Tanzania is transparent with its National COVID-19 Mitigation Strategy and fully acknowledging this pandemic and sharing statistics with the region this is a stupid move,” said Mzembi.Walter Mzembi, former Cabinet Minister
U.K.-based Zimbabwean lawyer and academic, Alex Magaisa, labelled the move by Air Zimbabwe as reckless.
“Quite reckless given Tanzania’s ridiculous approach to the pandemic. Why insist on vaccinations (which I agree with by the way) and still allow travel to and from a country whose leadership has such a primitive attitude towards the pandemic?” said Magaisa.Alex Magaisa, international lawyer and academic
Lawyer and social and political commentator Siphosami Malunga also expressed concern over the resumption of flights. He urged citizens to make informed decisions and where possible, shun the flights to protect themselves.
“Honestly speaking, with Tanzania’s handling of COVID-19, I don’t see why anyone would be opening up weekly, let alone any flights there. It’s reckless endangerment. I guess it’s ultimately up to individuals to decide on the risks.”Siphosami Malunga, lawyer
Other views canvassed by the Zimbabwe Voice showed that Zimbabweans believe the move by Air Zimbabwe was guided by political and business considerations and not by science.
Others said authorities must have learnt from the opening of borders too soon for the festive season in December, particularly with South Africa, which led to a spike in COVID-19 active cases and loss of lives.
The second wave claimed several prominent officials and many others. – Zimbabwe Voice 🔺