Thousands of people have been queuing in Madagascar to take a herbal tonic the country’s President claimed can prevent and cure coronavirus.
Long queues were formed on Thursday for the herbal tea after President Andry Rajoelina ordered that the vulnerable be given the drug for free.
Rajoelina launched the drug called Covid-Organics, produced from the artemisia plant – the source of an ingredient used in a malaria treatment – and other Malagasy plants.
Covid-Organics was developed by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (Imra).
VIDEO: Long queues for virus tea ‘cure’ in Madagascar.
A traditional brew endorsed by the president is being handed out free to residents as a purported cure for the #coronavirus. The claims are contrary to warnings from scientists, who say there is no known cure for COVID-19 pic.twitter.com/Hj8QZD5vrY
— AFP news agency (@AFP) April 23, 2020
Rajoelina said at the launch of the drug that “Tests have been carried out – two people have now been cured by this treatment.”
“This herbal tea gives results in seven days,” said the 45-year-old president, who also urged people to use it as a preventative measure.
“Schoolchildren should be given this to drink… little by little throughout the day,” he told the diplomats and other dignitaries gathered for the launch.
Endorsement from fellow leaders?
On Wednesday President Rajoelina tweeted that he and Félix Tshisekedi had chatted via a video conference about the Malagasy plant-based tonic, dubbed Covid-Organics.
“Africa is united and develops solutions against #Covid19 thanks to its natural heritage. The Malagasy stand beside their brothers,” he said in the post.
Excellente discussion avec le Président #Tshisekedi @Presidence_RDC qui nous félicite pour le remède traditionnel amélioré Covid-Organics.
L’Afrique est unie & développe des solutions contre le #COVID19 grâce à son patrimoine naturel. Les Malagasy sont aux côtés de leurs frères. pic.twitter.com/wg31auqnrj
— Andry Rajoelina (@SE_Rajoelina) April 22, 2020
Madagascar has so far recorded 121 cases of coronavirus, and no deaths.
The World Health Organization has however cautioned against the said declaration of the herbal drug being a cure for covid-19 saying there is no proof of that yet.