Madagascar has registered its first coronavirus death, two months after its index case, the national COVID-19 taskforce said on Sunday, according to news site Reuters.
The taskforce spokeswoman, Hanta Vololontiana, was quoted by Reuters to have said in a televised statement that the man had died on Saturday night.
“A man died from COVID-19 in Madagascar … he is 57 years old and a member of the medical staff,” she said.
The first casualty of the island on the east coast of Africa was said to be a 57-year-old medical worker who suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure.
Newsmen had about a fortnight ago did a rundown of countries with a clean death slate. This included Vietnam, Rwanda, Faroe Islands, Madagascar, Cambodia, Nepal, Uganda, Central African Republic, and Mozambique, according to data from online coronavirus tracker Worldometer.
As of Sunday afternoon, however, Nepal with three deaths, and now Madagascar with its first, have been chalked off the list.
Malagasy President Andry Rajoelina had been in the news since April when his country launched an indigenous herbal remedy named Covid-Organics, which he said could “cure” COVID-19.
The beverage, developed by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research, was produced from artemisia, a plant with proven antidote against malaria.
“All trials and tests have been conducted,” President Rajoelina said in April, “and its effectiveness in reducing the elimination of symptoms have been proven for the treatment of patients with COVID-19 in Madagascar.”
Tanzania, Liberia, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, have since either placed orders for, or have received consignments of, the medication.
This week, Nigeria received its share of what state authorities said is a “brotherly love” from the Malagasy government to all African countries.
The medical consignment has since been sent to Nigeria’s food and drug certification agency, NAFDAC, for clinical tests.
The World Health Organisation has also called for caution in the use of the touted COVID-19 cure as its efficacy and side effects have not been specifically proven.
Madagascar, as of Sunday afternoon, has 283 confirmed cases, 114 of whom have been discharged, according to Worldometer.