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17 Mar 2020 | 06:24 AM UTC

Togo: Authorities suspend flights with at-risk countries as of March 20 /update 1

Authorities suspend flights with COVID-19-affected countries as of March 20; abide to government directives

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TGO

Event

On Monday, March 16, Togolese authorities announced that commercial flights to and from countries highly affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak will be suspended as of Friday, March 20, for a period of 15 days. While the list of countries included in the suspension remains unclear, Togo's government website states it concerns "most European countries."

Furthermore, authorities announced that as of Friday, March 20, and for a 15-day period, all non-residents from, or who transited through those countries will not be allowed to enter Togolese territory.

Gatherings of more than 100 people are banned for a three-week period effective immediately.

As of Tuesday, March 17, one COVID-19 case has been confirmed in Togo. Further spread of the virus expected in the near term. 

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.

To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.