Tanzania’s first coronavirus patient allowed to go home

By Brian Okoth On Thu, 26 Mar, 2020 15:58 | 2 mins read
Isabella Mwampamba, who was found to be COVID-19 positive on March 16, was taken into quarantine at Arusha Regional Referral Hospital. [PHOTO | COURTESY]
Isabella Mwampamba, who was found to be COVID-19 positive on March 16, was taken into quarantine at Arusha Regional Referral Hospital. [PHOTO | COURTESY]
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    Mwampamba, who was found to be COVID-19 positive on March 16, was taken into quarantine at Arusha Regional Referral Hospital.

The first coronavirus patient in Tanzania, Isabella Mwampamba, will, anytime from Thursday noon, be discharged from hospital, Health minister, Ummy Mwalimu, said.

Mwampamba, who was found to be COVID-19 positive on March 16, was taken into quarantine at Arusha Regional Referral Hospital.

The 46-year-old arrived in Tanzania from Belgium on Sunday, March 15 aboard a RwandAir plane.

The patient was screened on arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) in Arusha but she did not have any symptoms of the virus. Later, she fell ill while in her hotel room in Arusha and went to hospital, Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu said.

On Sunday, March 22, in a televised address, President John Magufuli said he had been informed that subsequent COVID-19 tests on Mwampamba returned negative.

And while addressing journalists in Dodoma on Thursday, March 26, Health minister, Ummy Mwalimu, said Mwampamba was ready to go home any time after she completed treatment and mandatory confinement.

“Tests for COVID-19 done on her, have returned negative, and she should be discharged anytime from now,”Mwalimu said on Thursday afternoon.

The Health minister said Tanzania’s coronavirus cases rose to 13 by Thursday, March 26.

Of the 13 patients, eight were Tanzanian nationals and five were foreigners.

The 13 Tanzanian cases were drawn from Arusha (2), Dar es Salaam (8), Zanzibar (2) and Kagera (1).

Ummy revealed that 12 out of the 13 cases were imported, with only one arising from local infection.

It would be remembered that on March 18, Mwampamba sought apology from Tanzanians for being the first person to be diagnosed with the virus in the country.

Mwampamba addressed the country via a phone call to the Minister of Health Ummy Mwalimu.

Mwalimu was addressing a press conference at Arusha Regional Commissioner Mrisho Gambo’s office early Wednesday, when she called Mwampamba, and asked her to speak to the country.

“Hello, I am addressing a press conference at the Arusha Regional Commissioner’s office. I am glad that I spoke to you in the morning and you informed me that your health was improving,” Mwalimu told Mwampamba as she placed the patient on loudspeaker.

“I am now asking you speak to Tanzanians and Arusha residents. Kindly give them an update on your health status, and maybe share a message with them,” said the minister.

Responding to Mwalimu’s message, the patient, who was placed under mandatory quarantine, said: “I thank journalists and Tanzanians in general. My name is Isabella Mwampamba, and I am going fine. The first thing is that I thank God for protecting me. I am also grateful to the Tanzanian president, and the government at large.

“I am being treated well in hospital. I apologise to Tanzanians for being the first person in the country to be confirmed to have contracted the virus. As a result of that confirmation, my situation caused panic in the whole country. Many believe I am the cause of the spread of the virus in the country. I am calling to seek your forgiveness.

“God is protecting my family. Currently, I do not have any symptoms of the virus: I do not have fever, a cough or runny nose.

“Tanzanians, let us use this pandemic to raise awareness about the virus. I urge Tanzanians to take precaution as per the WHO guidelines,” said Mwampamba.

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