A health minister in Sri Lanka who drank a ‘sorcerer’s anti-Covid potion’ has tested positive for the virus.
Pavithra Wanniarachchi has faced criticism for consuming and endorsing the herbal syrup, which is said to contain nothing more than honey and nutmeg.
Doctors say there is no scientific basis for the syrup as a cure for coronavirus, and now the minister has become the highest-ranking official in Sri Lanka to become infected.
Wanniarachchi and her immediate colleagues have been ordered to self-isolate, authorities said.
Thousands of people queued in the village of Bandara, north-east of capital, Colombo, last month in the hope of getting the syrup after the health minister publicly drank it.
The potion maker reportedly claimed he was given the recipe by Hindu goddess of Kali, who appeared to him in a dream.
People in Sri Lanka are said to be open to taking both western medicine and indigenous alternative therapies to cure illness.
Health chiefs approved the Oxford and AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine with calls to inoculate frontline health workers first to prevent the medical system from collapsing. It is hoped vaccinations will begin next month.
Sri Lanka has so far reported 52,964 cases and 278 deaths since the pandemic began.
It comes as a UK pastor is under investigation for selling fake coronavirus ‘cures’.
A probe has been launched into Climate Wiseman, who identifies as a prophet, peddling ‘Divine Plague Protection Kits’ comprising of red string and oil for £91.
Despite the ongoing inquiry, Wiseman has been allowed to advertise on London buses.
A Transport for London spokesperson said the advert, due to run until February 21, ‘was reviewed by TfL and compliant with advertising policy’.
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