Health Alert — U.S. Embassy Lome, Togo (July 16, 2020)

As of July 15, there were 740 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with ‎15 deaths, 191 active cases, and 534 recovered.  These statistics are regularly updated on the Government of Togo’s COVID-19 website.  The Government of Togo is using one phone number, 111, for all questions regarding COVID-19.  Do not hesitate to call this number if you believe that you or someone you know has been exposed to COVID-19 or are showing symptoms of the disease.

The U.S. Department of State continues to recommend that U.S. citizens should return to the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those with underlying medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, or kidney or heart disease.  Togo has limited medical capabilities in the event that you may require a ventilator or other advanced medical care.  The Government of Togo administers chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine to COVID-19 patients.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises against this pharmacologic treatment as there is no evidence that it lessens the duration or severity of COVID-19.

The U.S. Embassy has limited recourse to intervene if you attempt to opt out of any Government of Togo-required drug protocol or quarantine, including upon arrival in Lome if you are on a list of passengers pre-approved to enter Togo.  All arriving passengers on Ethiopian Airlines flights, including U.S. citizens, must quarantine for a minimum of 14 days at a Ministry of Health-approved location and submit to nasal swab testing.  Land borders with all neighboring countries remain closed.  U.S. citizens run the risk of criminal prosecution, fines, and imprisonment if they attempt to cross into Togo from neighboring countries.

Ethiopian Airlines operates flights to the United States (Newark Liberty Airport) every Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday at noon.  Flights may also occur other days of the week to Houston depending on demand.  We expect all U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents in Togo to use the direct Newark or Houston flights to return to the United States.  Although the cost of this flight is now higher than it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost of a ticket is within the pre-pandemic market range for flights between the African continent and the United States.  Contact Ethiopian Airlines’ Lome ticketing and reservation office on the first floor of Hotel Palm Beach on beach road (Boulevard de la Republique or N2), two blocks east of the French Embassy, if you wish to return to the United States.

COVID-19 testing prior to boarding a U.S.-bound flight is currently NOT required by the U.S. Government.  If you are a U.S. citizen or hold a valid green card or U.S. visa and are asked to submit a nasal swab test in order to board a U.S.-bound flight at the Lome International Airport in Togo, feel free to report this to the U.S. Embassy at your convenience (consularlome@state.gov).

There is no such thing as a free flight to the United States.  If you are a U.S. citizen and financially destitute, meaning no financial assets in Togo or the United States and no friends or family who can assist you, then you will need to schedule an appointment online to speak to a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy.  Any government-provided financial assistance will result in the limitation/cancellation of your full-validity U.S. passport, and you will be required to depart on the next available flight after submitting a signed promissory note to the consular officer.  You will not be able to obtain a new U.S. passport until you have paid in full to the U.S. Treasury the amount spent for your plane ticket.

U.S. passport print facilities have resumed operations.  You may submit a regular, full-validity passport application (DS-11 or DS-82) by making an appointment online.  You should submit an application at least one month prior to the expected travel date or the expiration of the U.S. passport.

Please encourage any U.S. citizens you know still present in Togo to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) so that they may receive the latest COVID-19 updates from the Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Lome.

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