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Two months after easing restrictions, Madagascar re-imposes lockdown amid surge in COVID-19 cases

ANDRY Rajoelina, Madagascar’s President has placed the country’s capital Antananarivo under fresh lockdown following a new surge in coronavirus infections, two months after the restrictions were eased.

Rajoelina said in a statement on Sunday, that “the Analamanga region (under which the capital is situated) is returning to full lockdown.”

According to him, 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, the president said.

“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),” he  added.

He explained  that the measures have been taken “because of the spread of the epidemic and the increase of COVID-19 cases.”

Used to registering dozens of coronavirus 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.

“All government meetings will now be held via video conferencing, while court hearings have been suspended,” Rajoelina said in the statement.

It will be recalled that in April, Andry Rajoelina launched a local herbal concoction he claimed prevents and cures the novel coronavirus.

Rajoelina on his Twitter handle asked people to believe in the country’s ability, and informing them that all profits accrued through the sale of the concoction will be diverted to the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (MIAR).

The president 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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