File photo: Coronavirus

Public hospitals in Madagascar said they’ve reached full capacity and will only accept patients with the most severe forms of Covid-19 as cases surge in the Indian Ocean island nation.

President Andry Rajoelina earlier this month reimposed a lockdown on the country’s central region until July 26 as the five public hospitals in the capital, Antananarivo, announced they could no longer cope with the influx of patients.

Only one person per household is allowed to go out to buy food or medicine. An initial lockdown in March was lifted after four weeks.

The government has opened a 400-bed treatment center for people with mild symptoms and is importing about 1,000 oxygen machines. The number of confirmed cases reached 7,153 on Monday, including 62 deaths.

Those who don’t get tested and die at home will not be included in official statistics, the spokeswoman of the country’s Covid-19 Command Center, Hanta Marie Danielle Vololontiana, said last week.

Madagascar is building a factory to mass-produce a drink that was touted by authorities as a cure for Covid-19 even though it hasn’t been clinically tested or approved by drug regulators.

Sold as Covid-Organics, the drink contains extracts of the artemisia annua plant, which is used to treat malaria.

However, Health Ministry guidelines for citizens to treat themselves at home do not mention Covid-Organics.