Madagascar reinstates Lockdown following a new surge of coronavirus cases

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Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina demonstrates as he drinks the the Covid-Organics drink in Antananarivo; File Photo

Madagascan government has announced it has placed its capital Antananarivo under a fresh lockdown following a new spike in coronavirus infections, two months after the restrictions were eased, the presidency announced on Sunday.

Under the new guidelines, no cars will be allowed in or out of the capital until July 20.

“Only one person per household is allowed to go out into the street between 6:00 am (0400 GMT) and 12:00 pm (1000 GMT),” said the statement.

The measures have been taken “because of the spread of the epidemic and the increase of COVID-19 cases,” it added.

In early March, President Andry Rajoelina ordered lockdowns in Madagascar’s two main cities to try to contain the spread of the coronavirus across the poor Indian Ocean nation.

However, the restrictions were uplifted two months ago following the discovery of a “wonder drug” which allegedly cured coronavirus.

Baptised Covid-Organics, the tonic is derived from artemisia — a plant with proven efficacy in treating malaria — as well as other indigenous herbs.

Madagascar was used to registering dozens of COVID-19 cases a day however, the country has recently seen an exponential rise in daily numbers, jumping to a record 216 cases on Saturday after a total of 675 people were tested.

Since the virus was first detected on the island on March 20, the country had a cumulative of 2,728 cases, including 29 deaths by Sunday.

The “wonder drug”

Covid-Organics was developed by the state-run Madagascar Institute of Applied Research (IMRA) but it’s usage drew criticism from mainstream scientists since not been tested internationally.

Unarmed Madagascar soldiers went door-to-door in the capital Antananarivo, doling out sachets of a local herbal tea touted by President Andry Rajoelina as a powerful remedy against the novel coronavirus.

Madagascar has been giving away thousands of bottles of COVID-19 Organics, with Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, and Guinea Bissau already receiving thousands of doses of COVID-19 Organics free of charge.

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