Togo declares three-month health emergency to fight COVID-19

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President of Togo Faure Gnassingbe is seen during the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government 54th Ordinary Session in Abuja, Nigeria December 22, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/File Photo

President of Togo Faure Gnassingbe is seen during the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government 54th Ordinary Session in Abuja, Nigeria December 22, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/File Photo

Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe has declared a three-month nationwide health emergency and major socio-economic measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am addressing you in a very particular context where the world is faced with an unprecedented coronavirus-caused health crisis,” Gnassingbe said in a state of the nation address on Wednesday..

The address coming at a time when Togo has reported 36 cases of COVID-19, of which 24 were under medical treatment, 10 had recovered while the other two had died. The first case in the West African nation was registered at the beginning of March.

“In view of the seriousness of the situation and in keeping with the constitutional provisions, I declare a three-month health emergency in Togo,” Gnassingbe said, highlighting that the pandemic poses “exceptional challenges” and calls for “bold measures.”

Gnassingbe declared a nationwide curfew between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. local time starting from Thursday until further notice, and set up an anti-pandemic special unit of 5,000 people from defense and security forces to observe the measures to fight the epidemic.

The operational capacities of the health sector have been reinforced and mobile laboratories will be deployed to provide “confidential, rapid and free tests for COVID-19” for people across the country.

During the health emergency, the charges for water and electricity supplies will be free for the population and a special measure is taken to support farming so as to ensure food self-sufficiency in the country.

A national fund of 400 billion CFA francs (about 665 million U.S. dollars) is allocated to carry out the socio-economic measures, Gnassingbe said.

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