Togo Closes Churches, Mosques as COVID-19 Cases Rise

The Togolese government on Friday instructed all places of worship to close down for one month following a “worrying upsurge” in coronavirus cases in recent weeks. 

The West African nation of about eight million people has recorded just over 23,000 cases and 203 deaths but the true tally could be higher given low testing rates.

President of the country’s scientific council, Didier Koumavi Ekouevi disclosed on Wednesday that “the number of deaths keeps increasing,”

“In June, we had four deaths, on July 22 and on August 33. We are recording four times more patients.”

The government announced that from Friday, weddings and funerals are banned, as well as cultural, sporting and political events,

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Bars and nightclubs had also been ordered to temporarily close.

The authorities warned that sanctions would apply to those who violate the new measures.

It said in a statement on Thursday that “due to a worrying upsurge of Covid-19 cases in our country… the government would like to issue a reminder that restrictive measures are still in place,”

Togo’s borders have been shut since March 2020.

There are currently more than 4,800 active cases in Togo and officials warned hospitals are overwhelmed.

The largest treatment centre in the capital Lome has a capacity of 200 with 30 in intensive care.

“Currently it’s one in, one out, even for those who have serious symptoms,” said Ekouevi.

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Most new cases, he added, are people who are not vaccinated.

Togo has so far received about 1.6 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines.

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