Madagascar returns to full lockdown despite launching 'cure for COVID-19'

Despite launching a local herbal mixture that is said prevent and cure coronavirus, Madagascar is still being ravaged by the disease.

On Sunday, the East African country placed its capital Antananarivo under a fresh lockdown following a new surge in COVID'19 infections.

This is coming two months after the country eased restrictions of movement following drop in cases.

"The Analamanga region (under which the capital is situated) is returning to full lockdown," the government said in a statement.

The statement said no traffic will be allowed in or out of the region starting Monday until 20 July and only one person per household is allowed to go out into the street between 6 am and 12 pm.

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

Used to registering dozens of coronavirus cases a day, Madagascar has in recent days seen a rise in daily numbers, jumping to a record 216 cases on Saturday.

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 20 March.

All government meetings will now be held via video conferencing, while court hearings have been suspended.

In April, Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina launched COVID-Organics, 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.

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