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Madagascar reports first coronavirus death

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.

Madagascar flag. Picture: Wikimedia Commons.

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

The 57-year-old hospital worked 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.

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".

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