President Ali Bongo of Gabon has declared that the COVID-19 restrictions currently in place in the country will only be lifted after 60 per cent of the population has been vaccinated.
Addressing Gabon citizens on Monday, Aug. 16, on the occasion of the 61st anniversary of the country’s independence, President Bongo recalled the health crisis leading to the imposition of certain restrictions.
“Vaccination is the only real and efficacious way of holding down the propagation of the virus,” the Gabonese president declared, adding that his target was to attain the figure of 60 per cent of the populations vaccinated before envisaging the total lifting of the restrictive measures put in place to combat the pandemic.
With a population estimated at two million, 60 per cent of the population would stand at 1,200,000 but at the moment, only 71,000 Gabonese have so far been vaccinated.
The declaration by President Bongo comes on the heels of a warning by the country’s Interior Minister, Guy-Bertrand Mapangou, against ignoring the barrier measures put in place against the pandemic.
Mapangou recently made surprise visits to several areas, especially the capital Libreville during which he ordered the arrest of several people found not to be respecting the antiv-COVID barrier measures.
Dwelling on the new variants of the coronavirus which are more contagious and more dangerous and the fear of a third wave of the pandemic in the country, the President called on his countrymen to “show proof of civility by getting vaccinated” adding that the number of 71,000 people so far vaccinated is “encouraging but still insufficient.”
He noted that getting vaccinated, besides protecting the individual, also protects others and contributes towards preserving the national economy.
“An economy which would find it difficult to support new constraining measures such as confinement, which we must at all cost avoid,” President Bongo said.
Though vaccination is not yet obligatory in Gabon and there are indications that there is a downward tendency in the number of infections, the barrier measures being maintained are aimed at pushing all Gabonese to get vaccinated, which to President Bongo is a “civic and patriotic act.”
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