Two lawmakers in Madagascar have been confirmed to have died from COVID-19 and at least 25 members of parliament and of the senate have been infected with the virus since the first case was confirmed on the island in March, President Andry Rajoelina said late on Sunday.
Madagascar has recorded 5,080 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since then, and 37 deaths, according the government data.
A countrywide state of health emergency has been in place since March and the authorities re-imposed a lockdown in the capital and surrounding areas last week to contain the virus’s spread.
“One deputy died. A senator died. After the tests carried out on the deputies, 11 members of parliament were detected carrying the coronavirus. At the Senate, 14 people, senators and agents of Senate carry the coronavirus,” Rajoelina said during an appearance on a talk show on national television late on Sunday.
He did not say when the lawmakers died, and did not name them.
Rajoelina also said that he and his family had been taking “Covid Organics”, Madagascar’s self-proclaimed, plant-based “cure” for COVID-19 that was launched in April, despite warnings from the World Health Organisation that its efficacy is unproven.
“It is true that I have been in contact with people likely to carry the coronavirus. I have even entered hospitals that care for patients with Covid-19. I’m fine,” he said.
“I don’t carry coronavirus at all. I have no symptoms. Thank God. I follow the directives that I have given myself. But above all, me and my loved ones, my wife and my children, we drink and we follow a treatment based on the Covid Organics concoction.”