The US embassy in Tanzania has said there is an “extremely high risk” of contracting coronavirus in Dar es Salaam, the country’s commercial hub.

In a health alert, the embassy cautioned there was an exponential growth of the Covid-19 pandemic in the East African country.

It alleged that hospitals in Dar es Salaam were overwhelmed and warned that because of the limited capacity of the healthcare system in the country, patients might face life-threatening delays for medical care.

“The embassy has strongly recommended that US government personnel and their families remain at home except for essential activities (eg grocery shopping) and substantially limit into [their] private homes the entry of anyone but regular residents,” the statement posted on its website and social media pages say.

When asked to comment further on the allegations, Brinille Eliane Ellis, the embassy’s counsellor for public affairs said, “regarding your specific questions on Covid-19 in Tanzania, I refer you to the Ministry of Health, which is responsible for leading the Covid-19 response for the Tanzanian people.”

Tanzania, which has not released regular Covid-19 updates – its last one was in April, has recorded more than 500 cases, including 21 deaths.

President John Magufuli has caused controversy by questioning the accuracy of virus tests and imposing far fewer restrictions compared to other countries in the region.

The government has denied allegations that it is wavering in its fight against coronavirus.

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