Togo is facing stringent new covid-19 restrictions since the sanitary state of emergency was extended for one year on September 9 after an alleged increase in SARS-CoV-2 “cases” putting a strain on hospitals.
As a result, on September 17, places of worship, culture and leisure as well as bars and restaurants were closed, public gatherings were banned for one month, and a sanitary pass was introduced that requires proof of at least one dose of the covid vaccine in order to gain access to all public service buildings.
The overwhelming majority of the 8.5 million inhabitants of the small West African state have not received the vaccine to date: 1 million doses have been distributed and a scant 5 percent of the total population has received “complete” vaccination, according to the Financial Times. Local authorities say 9 percent of adults received two doses, and 13 percent received one dose.
Public universities also require proof of at least one vaccination of their students, with the exception of those who are under 18.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Togo reacted angrily to church closures, accusing the Togolese government of trampling on citizens’ religious rights. They also firmly condemned the vaccine mandate that is being imposed on the population by making access to essential public services impossible without the jab. After an extraordinary meeting on September 24, they insisted that vaccination must remain a “voluntary” act. (…)
Public statement by the CET:
“…But one cannot, in a responsible way, sweep aside everything that is said about the reliability, the effectiveness, the danger, the side effects and the problem of the conservation of these vaccines, which are mostly in the experimental phase. Hence the questions, the mistrust, the fear and the understandable reluctance of the population to be vaccinated.
“In such a context, is it really appropriate to use pressure and sanctions to force people to be vaccinated? Shouldn’t we rather develop strategies that explain and convince people to make a personal, free and responsible decision? Consequently, aren’t the coercive measures taken by the authorities, such as the ban on access to public and administrative buildings without the vaccination card, the requirement to present proof of vaccination for the submission of files for the establishment of an identity card and for the legalization of documents, etc., serious violations of the basic rights of citizens?”
“The coronavirus pandemic that has been affecting the whole world for almost two years is undeniably a public health problem that is both very complex and delicate, not only because of the virus and its potential dangers, but also because of the mistrust of a large part of the population that suspects the existence of “unspoken,” “hidden agendas,” “obscure financial interests” and “lobbying of the powerful” to which we must add the “rule of single thought” and the “omnipotence of those in power” in this field.” (…)
The average number of deaths has not exceeded two per day over seven days since the first covid victim in Togo on April 29, 2020; the total number of deaths was 229 on October 1. The population in Togo is very young: 40 percent are under 15 and the average age is under 20. Life expectancy is about 64 years. covid is mostly harmless for people under 50, and most covid deaths (or deaths attributed to covid) occur in patients with at least one serious comorbidity.
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