21 COVID-19 cases in the country due to 14 new cases from the Middle East within a week

Another 22 Bhutanese living abroad are also COVID-19 positive

There are 21 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country as of now, with 14 female and 7 male patients. Of that, 5 patients have already recovered.

Of the 16 COVID-19 patients in the country 15 patients have been placed in the isolation ward of the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) and one patient has been kept in de-isolation.

During the COVID-19 press brief, Health Minister Dechen Wangmo said within a week’s span, 14 new positive cases were reported in 5 males and 8 females who arrived in the country from the Middle East. They were all working there.

Out of 14 new positive cases, one female and one male tested positive after their 21 days quarantine period. Two of them tested positive on the rapid test kit and RT-PCR. Their roommates will be kept in the quarantine facility.

The two COVID-19 positive patients had shown symptoms during their 21 days quarantine and they even had fever and diarrhea, but they did not inform the health officials about their symptoms.

Lyonpo said the members of the health staff are deployed in the quarantine facilities every morning to ask every individual whether they have any signs and symptoms. The two positive patients, despite their symptoms, thought they were normal, and at the end of their 21-day quarantine they tested positive for COVID-19.

Lyonpo requested all the people in the quarantine facilities to inform the health officials if they have any headache, fever, and diarrhea or even if they are slightly unwell. If this is done then it will be easier to manage rather than waiting until the quarantine period is over.

This is also because if a person tests positive after the 21 days in quarantine then the person including the roommate have to stay for another 14 days in isolation or quarantine.

If a person, upon showing any kind of signs or symptoms, is tested in the quarantine facility then this would reduce the exposure. But after 21 days, the test is done to prevent community transmission.

Although the health ministry is making sure that no visitors are allowed to meet the people placed under quarantine, and the people in quarantine, themselves, do not mingle with each other or share anything and follow the SOP, however, there are some who do not abide by the rules. A person in quarantine told the ministry that she shared her food with a friend by passing it through the balcony.

A total of 13,311 tests have been done, with more than 3000 tests done using RT-PCR and 10,305 tests using the Rapid Test Kit. The ministry has started the periodic testing of high-risk communities as an additional measure to prevent and contain any local transmission. The strategies are testing, tracing and treating in addition to the public health measures.

People coming from abroad are tested with RT-PCR after three days and they will be tested again if they show any kind of signs or symptoms, and they will be tested again after completing the 21 days quarantine. So they will be tested three times.

Meanwhile, there are 22 COVID-19 cases abroad with 10 COVID-19 positive Bhutanese in New York, three in Europe, eight in the Middle East and one Bhutanese in India.

Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji said the 22 Bhutanese abroad are not in any serious condition and are not in the hospital and are in fact doing well in their respective places. In New York, a separate apartment is being rented and kept for the COVID-19 patients. Most of them are now recovering.

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