Sub-Saharan Africa
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Togo Tightens Covid Controls After Hajj Deaths

© Sputnik . Maksim Bogodvid / Go to the mediabankTreatment of patients with Covid-19 in the Republican Clinical Hospital in Kazan, Russia
Treatment of patients with Covid-19 in the Republican Clinical Hospital in Kazan, Russia - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 29.06.2024
Togo has become the second West African country to implement COVID-19 screening tests and face masks for pilgrims returning from the annual Muslim hajj pilgrimage in Mecca.
Senegal became the first country in the region to implement voluntary tests, suspecting that a number of the 1,300 deaths – according to a Saudi tally – are due to a respiratory syndrome ailment such as COVID-19.

A Togolese government statement on Friday said hajj pilgrims would have to undergo compulsory COVID tests and "limit contacts, wear masks, wash regularly, and avoid large gatherings" for 10 days after their return.

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Saudi Arabia's official SPA news agency reported 1,301 deaths at the annual pilgrimage, attended by some 1.8 million faithful from all over the world, where temperatures climbed as high as 51.8 degrees Celsius (125 degrees Fahrenheit).
More than 80 percent of pilgrims attending mainly outdoor rituals were "unauthorised" and walked long distances in direct sunlight, according to SPA.
About 18 percent of Togo's eight million population is Muslim. This year, some 2,500 Togolese went to Saudi Arabia for the hajj.
They left in June and are returning between June 29 and July 3 on special flights chartered by the government of this tiny coastal nation adjoining Ghana.