Magufuli on Monday said it is not possible for world economies to shut down because of a disease.
Speaking during a political rally in Chato Geita, Magufuli said, fortunately, his government did not bow to pressure to lockdown.
“Many threatened us with dire consequences, they wanted us to shut down the economy so that we run away from the problem but in reality, leadership is about carrying the problems on those you lead on your shoulders that is why today we are here,” he said.
Magufuli said even politicians aligned to the opposition pushed for motions to compel him to lock down the country but all that fell on dead ears.
“They sabotaged and ran away from the house but those under CCM stood firm and passed critical bills that affect the ordinary citizens,” he said.
Since the beginning of May, Tanzania has not been releasing any official figures on the extent of the outbreak that has left over 29 million people infected globally with above 925, 000 deaths.
In June Magufuli ordered reopening of schools saying the virus had been largely defeated.
Tanzania’s neighbours as well as international health organisations expressed concerns that downplaying the epidemic there could adversely impact the wider region.
But Magufuli said, “That is satanic. The devil wanted to take over the world but we want to remind him that he has no chance in Tanzania”.
He said if he locked down the country it would be hard for people to make a living.
“How would those depending on fishing make ends meet. How would those working earn a salary? Those that were calling on a lockdown had no wisdom,” he said.
“I can confirm that there has never been and there will be no lockdown and we shall continue to roll because we believe in our God who is bigger than any disease.”
Magufuli said Tanzania believes in the diversity of religion and thus preventing people from gathering and worshipping would be unfair to them.
He said it was unfortunate that many governments have subjected their citizens to unnecessary conditions in the name of mitigative measures to contain the virus.
“You have seen elsewhere people have been killed for walking beyond recommended hours. Others walk and work throughout the day with nose and mouth covered, this is really unfortunate,” he said.
Magufuli said under his administration, the budgetary allocations for the health sector have been increased resulting in the establishment of over three referral hospitals in the country and over 10 provincial health facilities.
“Tanzania has numerous challenges, we know where we have come from, where we are and where we are headed. We have faced both economic and security challenges but we have sailed through,” he said.
He added, “We were put among the poor but now we are ranked among the middle-income economy. We have established 1200 dispensaries, 487 health facilities and increased budgetary allocations to 270 billion from 31 billion”.
“You cannot build an economy with a sick population thus why investing in their health is key.”
According to Worldometer, Tanzania by end of April had reported 509 positive cases with 21 deaths and 183 recoveries