Madagascar seems to be back at square one. After instituting an early lockdown in March, the Malagasy authorities gradually relaxed the measures in place, permitting schools and stores to reopen and significantly reducing curfews, allowing life to virtually return to normal in Antananarivo as reported by MCMNT.COM earlier

The authorities are responding to a worsening health situation. Based on official statistics, the number of coronavirus cases jumped 52% last week and deaths rose 65%. As of 9 July, Madagascar had reported 3,782 cases and 33 deaths.

“The new lockdown was instituted primarily due to the rise in the number of deaths,” said Lova Ranoromaro, the president’s chief of staff.

According to Lalatiana Rakotondrazafy, government spokesperson: “We implemented these new lockdown measures at the right time, in light of the projections coming out of the Ministry of Health.”

Clearly, the authorities have shifted their strategy. Back in March, they had moved to take preventive steps: international flights were cancelled as early as 20 March and then President Rajoelina announced the precautionary lockdown of the capital on 22 March, at a time when the country had reported just 12 cases and no deaths. Today, the government is responding to developing events.

Herbal “cure”

The vaccination programme has yet to start and the government is still pushing its herbal infusion, which is based on the anti-malarial plant artemisia.

Dubbed Covid-Organics or CVO, it is sold in drink and capsule form and has been widely distributed to citizens.

Experts have cautioned against the brew, which has not been scientifically tested.

Madagascar, an island of around 27 million inhabitants, has recorded more than 24,600 coronavirus cases, including at least 433 deaths.