Magufuli pledges to import herbal cure for Coronavirus

Monday, May 4th, 2020 00:00 |
The Madagascar herbal anti-coronavirus drink which is produced from the artemisia plant—the source of an ingredient used in a malaria treatment. Photo/BBC

Dar es Salaam, Monday

The president of Tanzania says he will send a plane to Madagascar to import a herbal tonic which has been touted as a cure for coronavirus by the country’s president.

President John Magufuli’s move comes as he  questioned his country’s coronavirus numbers, and called on the authorities to investigate “sabotage” at the national laboratory.

The East African country had recorded 480 cases of the virus and 16 deaths at its last update on Wednesday.

The Madagascar drink has been picked up in other African countries and  Congo-Brazzaville’s president has also promised to import the drink.

It is produced from the artemisia plant—the source of an ingredient used in a malaria treatment.

The World Health Organization has said there is no proof of any cure and has advised people against self-medication.

The drink was launched as Covid-Organics and was being marketed after tests on fewer than 20 people over a period of three weeks, the president’s chief of staff Lova Hasinirina Ranoromaro told the BBC.

In response to the launch of Covid-Organics, the WHO said in a statement sent to the BBC that the global organisation did not recommend “self-medication with any medicines... as a prevention or cure for Covid-19”.

On Saturday Madagascar delivered a shipment to Guinea-Bissau. The Malagasy president also tweeted that the special envoy to Equatorial Guinea picked up a shipment of the drink.

Speaking on TV, Magufuli said he was already in contact with the government of Madagascar and would despatch an aircraft to the nation to collect the medicine.

Dispatch flight

“I am communicating with Madagascar, and they have already written a letter saying they have discovered some medicine.

We will despatch a flight to bring the medicine so that Tanzanians can also benefit,” he said.

Magufuli has already been widely criticised for his reaction to the coronavirus pandemic.

He has encouraged the public to continue gathering in places of worship, while much of the world has faced lockdown.

Magufuli said that people who tested positive for the virus may not be sick, and cast doubt on the credibility of laboratory equipment and technicians.

He said he had secretly had a variety of animals, fruits and vehicle oil tested at the laboratory. 

According to Magufuli, a papaya, a quail and a goat tested positive and he suspects a “dirty game” in the laboratory.      

“That means there is possibility for technical errors or these imported reagents have issues. Probably, the technicians are also bought to mislead,” he said. -Agencies

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