Mourners queue to pay their respects as the body of former president John Magufuli lies in state at Uhuru stadium in Dar es…
Mourners queue to pay their respects as the body of former president John Magufuli lies in state at Uhuru stadium in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, March 20, 2021.

Tanzania resumes its national mourning Tuesday of the late President John Magufuli, with the people of Chato, his hometown, getting a chance to pay their last respects ahead of his burial on Thursday. 

On Monday, Tanzania’s newly appointed president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, led thousands of people who paid their respect to Magufuli at the stadium in the capital city of Dodoma. 

She was joined by Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who gave condolences to Magufuli’s family. 

Magufuli, an ardent coronavirus skeptic, died from heart disease last Wednesday at age 61, according to Hassan who made the announcement on state television on March 17.

A man holds a newspapers following the death of Tanzania's President John Magufuli in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania March 18, 2021…
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Hassan said on the Thursday, a public holiday, Magufuli will be a buried after a funeral mass at the Chato Catholic Church in the Kagera region of the country.  

Meantime, as Hassan leads the country through its mourning, containing COVID-19 looms as the first big challenge of her presidency.  

Magufuli played down the impact of the virus, placing no emphasis on measures to protect the public such as obtaining vaccines and wearing mask. 

Tanzania confirmed more than 509 infections and 21 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University Resource Center.