Children across the East African country of Tanzania headed to schools on Monday, after three months of closure due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move makes the country, the first in East Africa to allow students to return to schools. Tanzania had earlier reopened universities and other higher learning institutions.

Children wearing neat uniforms and face masks were seen jostling to get into public transport in the country’s commercial capital and the port city of Dar es Salaam.

“I am very happy to go back to school, the facial mask I am wearing will protect me the whole day,” said Juma Maulid, a grade seven student at Ununio Primary School.

According to the US-based Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre, Tanzania has reported 509 COVID-19 cases with 21 deaths. While 183 people have recovered, the country has 305 active cases.

The country stopped releasing COVID-19 related statistics from April 29, drawing widespread local and international criticism.

President John Magufuli ordered reopening of schools across the country, a fortnight ago, claiming that the situation has improved.

He said the coronavirus pandemic is rapidly waning in the country, adding that there is no need for the schools to remain closed. He, however, asked citizens to take the necessary precautions.

The elections are scheduled in the country in October after the president dissolved the parliament two weeks ago.

He also allowed social activities including wedding ceremonies.

According to Tanzania’s Prime Minister Kassie Majolica there were 66 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in 10 regions across the country three weeks ago.

President Magufuli also claimed that the Chinese-made COVID-19 test kits were defective and gave wrong results.

Known as the bulldozer for his propensity to get things done, Magufuli declared victory over the coronavirus pandemic saying, “God” has heard the people’s prayers.

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