Tanzania’s president on Thursday announced reopening of universities from next month, thus moving towards normalization and easing restrictions imposed to stem the spread of coronavirus.

John Magufuli said his decision was due to a “decline” in COVID-19 cases in the East African country.

“With the fall in COVID-19 cases, we have decided that universities should reopen on June 1, 2020… I have announced well in advance so that you can prepare accordingly,” The Citizen news website quoted him as saying. “As for other secondary and primary school students, we need time so we can see the trend.”

Unlike other countries in the region, Tanzania did not impose a lockdown but urged citizens to maintain social distance, wear face masks and wash their hands.

Earlier in the week, it lifted travel restrictions imposed on inbound and outbound passenger flights “to allow for a return to normal airline and tourism business.”

“Preventive measures against Covid-19 will continue to be observed, however, the 14 days mandatory quarantine has been lifted,” a spokesperson said on Twitter.

Magufuli’s remarks came a day after Kenya deported 182 people who tested positive for COVID-19 back to Tanzania.

Kenya’s top health official Mutahi Kagwe said Wednesday that the deportees tested positive during checks at the Kenya-Tanzania border.

Tanzania has confirmed 509 virus cases, including 21 deaths and 183 recoveries thus far, according to the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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