A lockdown has been reimposed in Madagascar’s central region including the capital, Antananarivo following a sudden spike in confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.
Troops have been deployed to the affected places to ensure strict adherence to the reintroduction of lockdown after the Island recorded 209 new cases in the capital on Saturday bringing the total number to 2,941 coronavirus cases, according to the World Health Organization.
The containment measure is expected to continue until July 20 with schools and universities in the city closed. Again, only one person per household has the right to step out on the street from 6am to 5pm, according to reports.
Twenty-three thousand people have been tested for the virus in Madagascar since the first known case of the contagion was recorded in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
A contingent of doctors and troops has been deployed to the Island’s second-largest city, Toamasina, to fight the outbreak. This was after two people died and bodies reportedly found in the city’s streets in May, CNN reports.
Weeks after instituting a lockdown in the country to fight the rampaging virus, authorities lifted the restriction when president Andry Rajoelina, launched a local herbal remedy he claimed could prevent and cure coronavirus in seven days.
The mixture, called COVID-Organics and developed by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA), contains Artemisia, a plant used to treat malaria.
“Tests have been carried out – two people have now been cured by this treatment,” Rajoelina told ministers, diplomats, and the media back in April. “This herbal tea gives results in seven days,” he said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) urged caution in consuming the herbal cure for the contagion.
In a statement, the WHO said: “Africans deserve to use medicines tested to the same standards as people in the rest of the world. Even if therapies are derived from traditional practice and natural, establishing their efficacy and safety through rigorous clinical trials is critical.”
Despite the WHO warning, several African countries, including Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Tanzania, and Comoros have already ordered COVID-Organics.
President Rajoelina fired back after the WHO warning, stating the only reason the rest of the world had refused to treat Madagascar’s supposed cure for the coronavirus with urgency and respect was that the alleged remedy comes from Africa.
In an interview with French media at the beginning, Rajoelina said he had noticed what he believed stems from usual condescension toward Africans.
“I think the problem is that (the drink) comes from Africa and they can’t admit… that a country like Madagascar… has come up with this formula to save the world,” said the man who is Africa’s youngest head of state.