Together the world will defeat theCoronavirus pandemic
To date the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected more than 110 countries around the world, including the United States of America and Togo. This global pandemic has infected more than 200,000 people and killed at least 10,000.
When the world is going through a difficult situation, the rapid and transparent sharing of information is essential to fight the spread of this pandemic. While this pandemic originated in Wuhan, China, the Chinese and others’ experiences around the world show that it is essential to take preventative steps now and be transparent to minimize the impact of the virus, not when it comes to Togo, but now, before it spreads significantly. Today, the whole planet faces a common enemy and all countries are taking the strongest and most effective decisions to preserve the health of their citizens and their social and economic stability.
Situation in Togo
In Togo, the government convened a high-level crisis committee and took several measures to strengthen the health, social security, and protection of the country during the March 16 Extraordinary Cabinet Meeting. These measures include following the best practices, which are promoted by the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) based in Atlanta, USA:
- Wash your hands carefully and conscientiously with clean water and soap for at least 20 seconds (or with an alcoholic gel) several times a day, especially after contact with commonly used surfaces and objects.
- Cough and sneeze in the crook of your elbow, or in a single-use tissue and discard in a trash can, preferably with a cover.
- In case of fever and/or cough, stay at home and contact the toll-free number 111 or call a doctor.
- Self-isolation is required in the event that you have contact with someone who is diagnosed with COVID-19, you have arrived from a country where there is high incidence of COVID-19, or you present symptoms.
- Observe social distancing: Keep at least one meter away from other people in public, avoid large gatherings, and avoid unnecessary contact, including handshakes.
- If you are sick, wear a protective mask to avoid contaminating other people.
- Avoid all large gatherings. The Togolese government has specified 100 or more, but any large gathering should be avoided to prevent spreading the virus.
The Embassy of the United States urges the entire population to remain calm and follow the Togolese government and international recommendations. The Government of the United States has also taken strong steps to reduce the further spread of the disease in the United States and in countries around the world. The following measures lessen in no way the United States’ relationship with Togo.
Consular Service Limitations: As of March 18, the U.S. government canceled all routine visa appointments worldwide, to include the Consular Section at the Embassy in Togo. Emergency services still continue. Anyone with a serious medical or other emergency reason to apply for a visa should write to email@example.com. Services to American citizens, including passports, will also continue. The Embassy will restore all visa services as soon as possible.
Peace Corps Volunteers to leave Togo: Concerned about the safety and health of American volunteers around the world and the people with whom they work, the Peace Corps announced on March 15 that it was suspending its activities worldwide and evacuating volunteers from their assigned posts, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a temporary suspension in all countries hosting volunteers, and the Peace Corps will resume normal activities when conditions permit, to maintain its strong commitment to the people of Togo.
Cultural exchanges suspended: The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) suspended all of its exchange and study travel programs in the United States and other countries. ECA considers the health, safety, and well-being of program participants to be its highest priority and will review its decision every 30 days.
These services and program suspensions are necessary precautions due solely to the current pandemic; they must not be viewed as a lessening of the Embassy’s / United States Government’s commitment to its bilateral relationship with Togo. We look forward to the day when we can reopen our visa appointments and welcome back Peace Corps Volunteers and cultural exchange participants.
The United States will continue to demonstrate its firm commitment to the international community during this delicate period. The United States has committed more than $100 billion in the past 20 years to support public health on the African continent – by far the largest contribution by any donor nation.
On March 18, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) released $62 million as part of its Emergency Reserve Fund (ERF) for Contagious Infectious-Disease Outbreaks (ERF) to address the pandemic. This funding fulfills the pledge of up to $100 million for international efforts to combat COVID-19 announced by the U.S. Department of State in February. USAID will use these new funds and the $37 million from the ERF previously authorized for critical interventions in developing countries affected by, or at high-risk for, the COVID-19 pandemic. These activities include heightened risk-communications and engagement with local communities; the prevention and control of infection in health facilities, including through the provision of personal protective equipment and other critical commodities; increasing laboratory, disease-surveillance, and rapid-response capacity; COVID-19 case management ; screening at points of entry; and global and regional coordination.
Info for American nationals and partly applicable to all
The United States is continually assessing travel conditions in COVID-19 affected areas and will continue to update travel advice and traveler safety information as the situation evolves (see http://bit.ly/2x4qg6A to consult the list of COVID-19 information for each country, jurisdiction or region), and https://travel.state.gov/ to consult individual travel advice for the most urgent threats safety and security.
On March 11, the Department of State issued a Level 3 Global Health Advisory recommending that American citizens reconsider their overseas travel due to the COVID 19 pandemic (Visit http://bit.ly/33qdMCu to read the notice).
The CDC called on everyone, including travelers, to monitor their health and practice social distancing. Please visit the CDC website for more information (http://bit.ly/392zf5z .
At this time the Embassy remains open, but you are encouraged to monitor the Embassy’s website at https://tg.usembassy.gov/ as well as its Facebook page (USEmbassyLome) and Twitter account (@USEmbassyLome) for the latest information. Register on STEP.state.gov to receive the latest Embassy updates. Check with your airlines for updated information on your travel plans and / or restrictions.
The United States will continue to work closely with Togo to respond to the urgency of this pandemic and to protect the health and security of the American homeland and Togo.