Sri Lanka minister who drank potion tests positive for COVID-19

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Sri Lankan municipal workers wait as they prepare to cremate a body of a COVID-19 victim at a cemetery in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. Sri Lanka on Friday approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 amid warnings from doctors that front-line health workers should be quickly inoculated to stop the system from collapsing.

Sri Lanka’s health minister, who has faced criticism for consuming and endorsing a herbal syrup made by a sorcerer, has tested positive for COVID-19.

A Health Ministry official on Saturday confirmed that Pavithra Wanniarachchi became the highest-ranking official to be infected with the virus. She and her immediate contacts have been asked to self-quarantine.

Doctors have said there is no scientific basis for the syrup as remedy for the coronavirus. It’s said to contain honey and nutmeg.

Thousands of people gathered in long queues in December in the town of Kegalle, northeast of the capital Colombo, to obtain the syrup, just days after Wanniarachchi and several other government officials publicly consumed it.

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