Madagascar officials have said that the country has now registered its first coronavirus death.
A 57-year-old medical worker who suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure, according to the national COVID-19 taskforce died on Saturday.
Taskforce spokeswoman Hanta Danielle Vololontiana announced the death of the medical worker on national television.
“A man died from COVID-19 in Madagascar … he is 57 years old and a member of the medical staff,” she said.
Madagascar has been in the news for weeks now after recording zero deaths while its President Andry Rajoelina promotes a local herbal drug as remedy for the virus.
He recently responded to critics of his country’s much touted herbal remedy for coronavirus.
“We had 171 cases, of which 105 were cured and the majority of these patients who were cured took only the product Covid-Organics,” Rajoelina told France24 before this latest news of first death.
Covid-Organics was developed by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (Imra).
The herbal remedy was produced from artemisia plant, an ingredient used in a malaria treatment and other Malagasy plants.
Rajoelina has been leading the charge in promoting the drug and also donating to other African countries.
There have been a high level of skepticism from the World Health Organization and other countries who have warned against the use of the drug.
Rajoelina said in French that “If it wasn’t Madagascar, and if it was a European country that had actually discovered this remedy, would there be so much doubt? I don’t think so.”
54 African countries have so far recorded at least 81,307 cases of coronavirus with 2,704 deaths, and 31,078 recoveries.
#COVID19 update in Africa (As of 17 May 2020, 9am East Africa Time)
54 @_AfricanUnion Member States reporting 81,307 cases, 2,704 deaths, and 31,078 recoveries.
More information at https://t.co/xVh2wZb6q4#FactsNotFear #AfricaResponds pic.twitter.com/nrmJVwCPOS
— Africa CDC (@AfricaCDC) May 17, 2020