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Madagascar reports its first Covid-19 death

A woman carries a bundle of coloured raffia through the Isotry district of Madagascar's capital Antananarivo on May 16, 2020, where 16 people have been infected with Covid-19 by a single resident of this neighbourhood.
A woman carries a bundle of coloured raffia through the Isotry district of Madagascar's capital Antananarivo on May 16, 2020, where 16 people have been infected with Covid-19 by a single resident of this neighbourhood. © Rijasolo, AFP

Madagascar on Sunday announced the first death of a patient suffering from the novel coronavirus, nearly two months after it was first detected in the country.

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The 57-year-old hospital worker died on Saturday and had underlying diabetes and high blood pressure before he was infected, an official from the anti-coronavirus task team said.

"It is with great sadness that we have to share with all our compatriots, that there is an individual, aged 57, who died from Covid-19," professor Hanta Vololontiana said on public television.

He was a car park attendant at a hospital in the eastern city of Toamasina.

The Indian Ocean island which has reported 304 cases has hit the headlines over a home-grown herbal concoction that President Andry Rajoelina claims can cure people infected with the virus.

Exclusive: Madagascar's president defends controversial homegrown Covid-19 cure

Several African countries have ordered or expressed interest in the purported remedy, which is known as Covid-Organics.

The tonic drink is derived from artemisia — a plant with proven efficacy in malaria treatment — and other indigenous herbs.

But the World Health Organization has warned against "adopting a product that has not been taken through tests to see its efficacy".

(AFP)

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