Madagascar re-imposes lockdown amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Police officers patrol and search for possible lawbreakers, in downtown Antananarivo on April 27, 2020. - Madagascar police on April 27, 2020, sanctioned citizens caught outside without face coverings by forcing them to sweep pavements, law enforcement officials said. Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina has made it compulsory to wear face masks outdoors in Madagascar's capital Antananarivo, as well as in the cities of Fianarantsoa and Toamasina, the curb the spread of coronavirus. (Photo by RIJASOLO / AFP) (Photo by RIJASOLO/AFP via Getty Images)

Madagascar re-imposes lockdown following a new spike in coronavirus infections, two months after the restrictions were eased, the presidency announced on Sunday.

In as statement, “The Analamanga region (under which the capital is situated) is returning to full lockdown,” the presidency said.

No traffic will be allowed in or out of the region starting Monday until July 20 and 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.

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

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.

Nearly 24,000 tests have so far been conducted in Madagascar.

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.

Court hearings have been suspended and all government meetings will now be held via video conferencing.

In April, 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.

Does this mean the herbal drink failed to cure it’s people?

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