Drink concocted by a self-proclaimed holy man who claims to have received his recipe from the Hindu goddess of destruction, Kali.
The supposed miracle potion of a self-proclaimed Sri Lankan saint to prevent COVID-19 turned sour after a minister who drank it publicly was hospitalized with the virus.
Thousands of people defied public assembly restrictions to flood a village in central Sri Lanka last month to get the syrup made by Dhammika Bandara.
Women and Children’s Development Minister Piyal Nishantha de Silva was among several politicians who consumed the concoction, but parliamentary officials said on Tuesday he had since tested positive for coronavirus and taken to a hospital. treatment center.
Family members of another politician, originally from the village of Bandara, had also been infected despite taking the syrup.
Pro-government media widely publicized Bandara who claimed that the formula was revealed to her by Kali, a Hindu goddess of death and destruction.
The drink contained honey, nutmeg, cilantro, and other herbs and was available for the equivalent of $ 13 a bottle.
Herbal remedies are widely available in Sri Lanka, and at least 15,000 people showed up at the man’s home for four days of the sale in December, a local official said.
The holy businessman had also sold his miracle cure to businesses as well as temples, local media reported.
He had also given a sample to politicians and ministers. Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi also took the potion, according to the DPA news agency, although her own ministry has not approved it as a medicine.
She has been criticized by opposition lawmakers for spreading false hope and encouraging people to visit the holy man en masse.
The government has tried to distance itself from Bandara, whose preparation has been approved as a food supplement by the official unit of indigenous medicine.
“Although some parliamentarians have accepted it, the government does not approve it,” said Keheliya Rambukwella, media minister.
Sri Lanka is in the throes of a coronavirus outbreak, with the number of cases and deaths dropping from 3,300 and 13 in early October to 53,750 infections and 270 deaths currently.