FACT CHECK: Viral Video Claims To Show Celebrations In Tanzania After ‘Defeating’ The Coronavirus

Trevor Schakohl | Legal Reporter

A video shared on Facebook more than 3,900 times purportedly shows celebrations in Tanzania following the country’s “defeating” of the coronavirus.

Verdict: False

The video actually shows Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli attending a ceremony in 2016, years before the new coronavirus first emerged.

Fact Check:

Magufuli declared on June 7 that Tanzania was “coronavirus-free” due to prayers from its citizens, BBC News reported. The video featured in the Facebook post allegedly shows a celebration for Tanzania “defeating” the disease, with Magufuli playing drums as other people sing close by.

“No masks. No social distancing. No curfews,” its caption reads. “No lockdown –Tanzania celebrations after defeating corona.” (RELATED: Viral Video Claims To Show 5G Equipment With ‘COV-19’ Label)

The same footage was posted on Facebook in 2016 by the Tanzanian media outlet East African Television, which stated that it showed Magufuli attending the laying of a foundation stone for hostels at the Tanzania’s University of Dar es Salaam in October that year. Images of Magufuli playing the drums at this event were included in a blog post published by the State House, Tanzania’s official presidential residence.

The new coronavirus first emerged in late 2019, three years after the celebration took place, making it impossible for the celebration to have been related to the virus.

As of press time, the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania website states that Tanzania’s government “has not released aggregate numbers on COVID-19 cases or deaths since April 29.” The Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center reports that Tanzania has 509 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 21 deaths.

Trevor Schakohl

Legal Reporter
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