Two lawmakers – a senator and a deputy – have died of complications from coronavirus in Madagascar, President Andry Rajoelina announced on Sunday.
The President added that eleven other deputies and 14 senators had also tested positive for the virus, and are receiving treatment.
The Indian Ocean island on July 5 placed its capital Antananarivo under a fresh lockdown following a new surge in infections, two months after the restrictions were eased.
It has recorded 2,573 infections including 35 deaths with the government estimating that the peak will not be reached until the end of August.
In April, Rajoelina launched a local herbal concoction he claimed prevents and cures the novel coronavirus.
He has since 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.
“The Analamanga region (under which the capital is situated) is returning to full lockdown,” the presidency said in a statement. 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. The measures have been taken “because of the spread of the epidemic and the increase of COVID-19 cases,” it added. (Vanguard)