Although Magufuli is one of the very few world leaders who downplayed the existence and presence of COVID-19 at the time other countries were taking stringent measures to curb its spread, he appears to have seen the reality now and the need to tackle the virus head-on.

According to, while speaking on Friday, February 19, during the farewell function of the late John Kijazi, Magufuli implored all Christians and Muslims in Tanzania to seek God's intervention as they battle with the deadly disease.

"Last time when we had this challenge we prayed and God helped us to overcome. I ask you Christians, Muslims and every Tanzanian to pray for three days so that we can overcome this disease again,” he said.

Kijazi was the Chief Secretary in Magufuli's government. He died after ailing for a while in a suspected COVID-19 case, reports say.

Zanzibar's first vice president Maalim Seif who was undergoing treatment at a Tanzanian hospital died of Covid-19 on Wednesday, February 17.

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A few days before the Covid-related deaths, Magufuli disclosed that Tanzania has started recording cases of the virus and urged citizens to take precautions after he had declared the country coronavirus-free.

"I appeal to journalists if possible, every day editors give caution against coronavirus, even two or three words. On our TVs and radios, before presenting news let there be information about COVID-19," he stated.

Magufuli's government has also sneered at COVID-19 vaccines and maintained the country would deal with the situation locally. Health Minister Dorothy Gwajima said the country has no plans to procure COVID-19 vaccines, reports.

"The natural herbs are already in use and they have helped Tanzanians, including me and my family," she said, adding that her ministry experts had been working with various groups to come up with natural herbs.

Dorothy Gwajima expressed confidence in the steam therapy which has helped manage the COVID-19 infection.