Madagascar has now recorded its first coronavirus death, the national COVID-19 taskforce announced on Sunday.
The death case which occurred Saturday involved a 57-year-old medical worker who suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure.
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 the 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.”