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Two Madagascar lawmakers die of coronavirus

Eleven other deputies and 14 senators had also tested positive for the virus, Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina said.

The president of Madagascar Andry Rajoelina attends a ceremony to launch 'Covid Organics' or CVO, in Antananarivo on 20 April 2020. CVO is a remedy from the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA) created from the Artemisia plant and is supposed to prevent any infection by COVID-19. Picture: AFP

ANTANANARIVO - Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina on Sunday said two lawmakers - one member of the senate and one deputy - had died after becoming infected with coronavirus.

Eleven other deputies and 14 senators had also tested positive for the virus, Rajoelina said.

The Indian Ocean island on 5 July placed its capital Antananarivo under a fresh lockdown following a new surge in infections, two months after the restrictions were eased.

It has recorded 2,573 infections including 35 deaths with the government estimating that the peak will not be reached until the end of August.

In April, Rajoelina launched a local herbal concoction he claimed prevents and cures the novel coronavirus.

He has since been promoting the brew for export, saying it is the country's "green gold" which will "change history".

The potential benefits of Covid-Organics, a tonic derived from artemisia - a plant with proven efficacy in malaria treatment - and other indigenous herbs, have not been validated by any scientific study.

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