Tanzania has installed medical oxygen production plants in its biggest national hospitals to serve intensive care wards treating coronavirus patients, its health ministry said on Friday.

The ministry statement said the plants installed in each hospital will produce 200 medical oxygen cylinders a day.

The announcement that the plants had been installed in seven referral hospitals in a World Bank-backed project was another change of COVID-19 policies since the death of President John Magufuli in March.

Earlier this month, President Samia Suluhu Hassan shifted the country’s approach to COVID-19 from the controversial stances of her predecessor by announcing she was forming a committee to research whether Tanzania should follow the course taken by the rest of the world against the pandemic.

And on Sunday Hassan said that while that committee continues its work, Tanzanians should follow the public health guidelines for COVID-19 prevention advised globally, namely mask wearing and washing hands. She called on religious leaders to help educate the public on this.

Magufuli, who died last month after weeks of speculation that he was ill with COVID-19, was Africa’s most prominent COVID-19 sceptic.

He urged Tanzanians to shun mask-wearing and denounced vaccines as a Western conspiracy, frustrating the World Health Organisation. Tanzania stopped reporting coronavirus data in May 2020.