Togo extends health emergency as Covid-19 cases rise

Togo on Tuesday extended a health state of emergency for 12 months to “take appropriate decisions” after a surge in new cases of coronavirus.

The tiny West African state of eight million people first declared a state of emergency in April 2020 and has extended it several times, allowing the government broader powers to tackle outbreaks.

The government had asked for a six-month extension, but the National Assembly unanimously approved 12 months. 

“The National Assembly has taken on its responsibility by giving the government ample time to fight this battle,” said Yawa Djigbodi Tsegan, the assembly president. 

Togo has registered 23,778 cases including 207 deaths and 18,746 cured patients, according to official figures released Monday, though the true figure is likely higher given the low testing rates.

But new infections and deaths have been on the rise in recent weeks. 

Togo has received around 1.6 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines.

On Thursday, the government introduced new measures including closing places of worship and banning weddings, cultural, sporting and political events for a month. 

Funerals are prohibited and bars and nightclubs have also closed for the same period. Land borders have been shut since March 2020.