#COVID19 PROMPTS CANCELLATION OF UHURU TORCH RACE
(Posted 18th March 2020)
President John Magufuli yesterday suspended the 2020 Uhuru Torch Race as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus, which is wreaking havoc across the globe.
Speaking to residents of Dar es Salaam while inspecting the on-going Ubungo Interchange project, President Magufuli, said the race, which had been scheduled to be launched on April 02nd in Zanzibar will no longer be held as planned in response to COVID-19 outbreak.
“Uhuru Torch race is one of the events that draw large crowds, after deliberation with the Prime Minister and Vice-President I have decided to cancel the race, let us continue to mobilise and follow the prescribed hygiene measures, coronavirus is deadly,” he remarked.
President Magufuli directed that the funds that were set for the race should be directed to the preparation of health facilities that will be responsible with handling possible coronavirus cases.
The Uhuru Torch is one of the National Symbols of Tanzania. The kerosene torch symbolises freedom and light. The Uhuru Torch race takes place every year starting from different places.
The measures now imposed in Tanzania is similar to what Ghana, Senegal, Rwanda, Kenya and South Africa have put in place. Even Uganda, still free of any reported case of COVID19, has put restrictions into place affecting travelers from dozens of foreign countries to a varying degree.
On Sunday, the Minister of State in the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government, Mr. Selemani Jafo banned on-going preparations of the inter- primary and secondary school games as well as calling for strict control of Form six graduation ceremonies.
Africa is seeing a steady spread of the coronavirus across the continent, with more and more countries confirming cases on taking the number of affected nations to 32 out of 54 African countries.
As of today, about 8.272 people had died globally from COVID-19, while more than 207.000 cases have been confirmed in 170 countries.
President used his tour of Dar es Salaam, Coast and Morogoro regions on Tuesday to remind Tanzanians of the dire threat of the novel coronavirus, citing its healthy and economic impacts, as he pleaded for everyone to observe preventive measures.
Earlier, briefing the President on the Ubungo Interchange Project, Tanzania National Roads Agency (Tanroads) Chief Executive Officer, Eng Patrick Mfugale said the project has reached 70 per cent of construction and will be completed by December 2020.
The 230bn/- project expected to tame traffic snarls-up on Dar es Salaam roads, is expected to save billions of shillings Tanzania’s economy loses daily.
According to Dr. Magufuli more than 660bn/- has been set aside for Dar es Salaam region, where a number of road infrastructure projects are being implemented.
“You should all be proud as the funds used to accomplish these projects are 100 per cent are being raised from Tanzanians,” he said President Magufuli also inspected the progress of the expansion of Kimara-Kibaha road with a length of 19.2 kilometres that its construction has reached 70 per cent and expected to be completed by January 2021 at the cost of 140bn/-.