Thursday, 28th January 2021

Tanzania’s chief medical officer has directed that results of Covid-19 test samples taken from travellers transiting at the country's airports should be ready within 24 hours instead of the previous 72.

Dr Abel Makubi told The EastAfrican that he had instructed the National Community Health Laboratory in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam to reduce the time spent in preparing and announcing the results.

He said samples taken at the Julius Nyerere International (JNIA) Airport in Dar es Salaam should be ready in 24 hours while those taken at other airports around the country should be availed in 48 hours.

However, according to Dr Makubi, the rule prohibiting travellers from boarding aircraft at the airports unless they are certified as Covid-19 free will remain unchanged.

“This requirement has been set by the airlines. What we are doing is taking steps to reduce the time that travellers have to wait before being notified if they are good to go or not,” he said.

According to international airport security services provider GardaWorld, Tanzania has eased Covid-19 restrictions on in-bound travellers, opting instead to give them as much leeway as possible.

“Arriving international travellers are no longer required to undergo a 14-day quarantine period or produce proof of having tested negative for Covid-19 upon entry into Tanzania unless their airline or country of origin requires it as a condition of travel,” GardaWorld says.

Still, all travellers are required to be available for impromptu enhanced 'screening' and if tested positive they will have to undergo the obligatory 14-day self-isolation.

Also on arrival in the country, international travellers are “strongly advised” to undertake hygiene measures such as handwashing, wear face masks and maintain social distancing protocols, GardaWorld says.

International airline travellers to Tanzania mainly come in through the JNIA in Dar, Mwanza International Airport, Kilimanjaro International Airport and Abeid Amani Karume International Airport in Zanzibar.

Tanzania stopped publishing official data on the number of Covid-19 cases in the country on April 29.

-The East African

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