Sri Lanka’s Health Minister tests positive for Covid-19

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Sri Lanka’s health minister, who endorsed herbal syrup to prevent Covid, has tested positive for the virus.

“Pavithra Wanniarachchi tested positive on Friday,” a media secretary at the Ministry of Health said.

She had promoted the syrup, manufactured by a shaman who claimed it worked as a life-long inoculation against the virus.

Sri Lanka recorded 56,076 cases and 276 deaths since the pandemic began, with cases surging in recent months.

Ms Wanniarachchi is the fourth minister to test positive. A junior minister, who also took the potion, tested positive earlier this week.

The health minister had publicly consumed and endorsed the syrup as a way of stopping the spread of the virus. The shaman who invented the syrup, which contains honey and nutmeg, said the recipe was given to him in a visionary dream.

Ms Wanniarachchi took two Covid-19 tests and both returned positive results, Media Secretary Viraj Abeysingheof the Ministry of Health said.

The minister has been asked to self-isolate and all of her immediate contacts have gone into isolation.

News of Ms Wanniarachchi’s positive test came hours after Sri Lanka approved the emergency use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. The first doses are expected to arrive in the country next week.

 

Olajumoke Adeleke

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