Sri Lankan Health Minister Demoted for Endorsing Sorcery to Treat COVID-19

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa demoted health minister. Pavithra Wanniarachchi, on Aug. 16 for publicly endorsing sorcery and magic potions to treat COVID-19 amid a rise in cases.

Wanniarachchi’s duties have been given to Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella.

Despite the demotion, Wanniarachchi will remain in the cabinet as the transport minister.

Wanniarachchi tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed in intensive care last January after publicly consuming and endorsing a “magic potion” allegedly made by a sorcerer.

Wanniarachchi also poured “blessed” water into a river last November after a self-styled “god-man” told her it would end the pandemic in the South Asian island nation.

Daily cases in Sri Lanka have recently reached record highs. The country has been recording over 3,000 daily cases since Aug. 12.

According to the Health Protection Bureau, Sri Lanka recorded 3,466 new cases and 167 new deaths on Aug. 16, bringing the nationwide tally to 362,074 cases and 6,263 deaths.


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