Confronted with the coronavirus pandemic in Togo, President Faure Gnassigbé on Wednesday night declared a three-month state of emergency and a curfew for an unspecified period.
“Faced with the severity of the situation and in accordance with the constitutional provisions, I declare the state of health emergency in Togo for a period of three months,” the Togolese president said in his address to the Nation.
The state of emergency will be used “to adopt exceptional measures of health response and general police imposed by the current circumstances”.
Also in an effort to stem the Covid-19 pandemic, Faure Gnassingbe declared a curfew from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., which takes effect from April 2, 2020, until further notice. And a special anti-pandemic force consisting of 5,000 men was set up “to ensure full compliance with the decisions taken in the fight against the Covid 19.” There are also restrictions on movement and gatherings aimed at stemming the spread of the virus, according to the president.
In addition to the curfew, working hours are readjusted. Contrary to the usual hours from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., there is a continuous working day in the Togolese administration from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Steps have been taken to cushion the impact of these drastic measures. Water and electricity are made free for consumers on social brackets for the next three months. It is also announced the launch of a cash transfer program to “help the citizens who will be most affected by the crisis and the set of measures taken”.
In addition, support for businesses is promised, in particular SMIs/SMEs affected by the consequences of the pandemic and young entrepreneurs who have just started their activities.
To finance all these socio-economic measures, the Head of State announced the creation of a National Solidarity and Economic Recovery Fund of 400 billion CFA francs, which will be fed by contributions from the government, international partners, the national and international private sector and donors.
“The coronavirus pandemic imposes exceptional challenges on us and immense sacrifices (...) No deviation or failure will be tolerated. Depending on the situation, other measures may be taken,” Faure Gnassingbe warned, insisting that “This is a real battle, a war against the coronavirus. We will win this battle.”