Clive checks in from his home on Zanzibar.
Salamu (Swahili for Greetings) from Zanzibar, an island off the coast of Tanzania best known as the birthplace of Freddie Mercury, where we are bathed blissfully in sunshine, trade winds and best of all, mask free.
While many countries in Africa locked down, Tanzania realised very quickly that with a median age of 20, half that of Europe, the cure being worse than the disease would be an inevitable consequence of shutting down the economy. They kept their economy open.
It was a wise decision. In a country of 56 million people, only 516 cases of CV19 have been registered and 21 deaths. Given that there is no formal healthcare reporting system, it is inevitable that these numbers are under-reported. However, as 2.5 million people die every year in Africa from another infectious disease (Tuberculosis), the Tanzanian Government and healthcare community thankfully enjoy a sense of context about risk management sadly lacking among the bureaucrats and government advisers our taxes pay for.
Alas, the local economy has still been shell-shocked. As global supply chains breakdown, tourism falls off a cliff (down over 90%), foreign aid and non-governmental agencies shut down, the most poor and vulnerable are back to what they know best. Subsistence living and seeking aid from ‘developed countries’. Ironically these are the same so called ‘developed’ countries whose lockdowns have caused the very economic catastrophe ‘developing‘ countries are now suffering from.
Not content with presiding over a historic economic collapse at home; the same ‘experts’ whose gold plated salaries, pensions and healthcare benefits our taxes pay for, have also been the architects of a lockdown syndrome that will condemn another 100 million people to living below the global poverty level of $1.90 a day, while causing an additional 5 million global deaths from illnesses ranging from malaria and tuberculosis to heart disease and cancer.
Yet, as always, the locals here laugh, sing and see the bright side of life. Freedom from an entitlement mentality and the hysteria of main stream media has its upsides!
Tanzanians understand that the only way we are going to dig ourselves out of this catastrophe is if ordinary people insist the governments we elect make balanced and transparent decisions based on integrated health & economic data...and not just the ‘do no harm’ mantra of Doctors.
Wish you were here? Flights and hotels are cheap. Planes and airports empty. The local people will welcome you with nothing more infectious than open arms, gracious hospitality and a healthy appreciation that life is all about living, not obsessing about the avoidance of dying.