By Martins Ifijeh
Madagascar has placed its capital, Antananarivo, under a fresh lockdown following a new surge in COVID-19 infections, two months after the restrictions were relaxed, the presidency announced Sunday.
This is despite the country claiming its COVID-19 herbal mixture treats the coronavirus disease.
The statement said: “The Analamanga region (under which the capital is situated) is returning to full lockdown. No traffic will be allowed in or out of the region starting Monday until July 20. A strict curfew will be imposed on street movement by people.
“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.
It said the measures had been taken because of the increased spread of COVID-19 in the region.
Used to registering dozens of COVID-19 cases a day, Madagascar has in recent days seen an exponential rise in daily numbers, jumping to a record 216 cases on Saturday.
The latest tally came after 675 people were tested.
Nearly 24,000 tests have so far been conducted on the impoverished island.
By Sunday the country had a cumulative 2,728 cases, including 29 deaths since the virus was first detected on the Indian ocean island on March 20.
The statement also added that all government meetings will now be held via video conferencing, while court hearings have been suspended.
In April, its President, Andry Rajoelina, launched a local herbal concoction he claimed prevents and cures the novel coronavirus.
Rajoelina has been promoting the brew for export, saying it is the country’s “green gold” which will “change history”.
The potential benefits of Covid-Organics, a tonic derived from artemisia — a plant with proven efficacy in malaria treatment — and other indigenous herbs, have not been validated by any scientific study.