24 hour black out period lifted after Phuentsholing outbreak

11 new positive cases were detected on Friday from the Medical Supply and Distribution Depot (MSDD) which was functioning in a self-containment mode.

Health Minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo said they were not in a containment mode and there was a miscommunication. She said they were working in MSDD and during lockdown, MSDD has to supply medical equipment and medicines so that is why they were staying in a self-containment mode or on site.

So they do not fall under the containment mode which is if someone has a higher risk of exposure, then they should stay in a containment mode but the people working in MSDD are not at higher risk because whatever medical supplies are coming in the country needs to be transshipped then only goods will be at the store. So their containment is very different from the MDP containment said Lyonpo.

“People are confused that why anybody from the self-containment were allowed to move out but it is a misconception. MSDD was in self-containment only during the period of lockdown,” said Lyonpo.

Lyonpo clarified that MDP is in containment mode because truckers come in and go and there is a high risk of exposure. She said while transshipping goods, the workers from MSDD might come in contact with the truckers. So that is why, MSDD stayed in containment mode during the lockdown.

There are two containments as per the health ministry. During lockdown health staffs do not go home directly and they stay in the hotel and after lockdown they all go their houses. So similarly MSDD also has the same model.

Task Force members have been asked to investigate the case and if there is a breach of protocols from the health personnel then there will be consequences but then there are also drivers and temporary loaders.

The surveillance team is also investigating what exactly happened there.

All the people staying in a colony have been tested and that’s how 11 positive cases was detected from the contact tracing. At first, there was an Antigen positive and then the contact tracing was done and 11 positive cases was detected on the night of August 12.

The contacts from the MSDD have all been tested and from the 11 contacts, there was a family and their contacts are being tested last night. There is no one from outside the MSDD compound.

Lyonpo clarified that all the self-containment is monitored and looked after by the taskforce members.

Karma Tshering Dorji, a businessman from Phuentsholing said the health ministry must do mass testing not leaving anyone behind including all the front liners.

He said the containment zones should be monitored by desuups and polices irrespective of whether government or private and they should be tested for COVID-19 every twice in a week. He said people who are in a containment zone should not come out in a public places and if they have to do some grocery shopping, there should be different shopping place for them otherwise it is of no use of staying in a containment zone.

He said a containment zone should be out of the town, like in the schools since all the schools are closed.

He said the current 11 positive cases detected from the Medical Supply and Distribution (MSD) is purely their mistake and their carelessness. Whenever any positive cases were detected, public was blamed and they suffered, especially those who are running a small business.

He said Phuentsholing is getting so many positive cases because of the imports of goods.

“The government should find out why people from the self-containment zone were allowed to come out of their zone,” he said.

Another resident Namgay Wangchuk shared that if anyone is in a self-containment then there should be a proper SOP. Not only with this case, earlier there have been similar cases from one of the hotels in Phuentsholing.

He said he has no idea whether self-containment without proper SOP is allowed in the country or not. If it is allowed then it needs to be monitored by Task Force members and should have proper SOP. There should be penalty imposed if any person breaches the containment protocol.

He shares his view that nobody should be allowed out their containment zone without a proper approval from the task force. And if suppose any one breached the protocol then they should be penalized. Many of the areas which are functioning as self-containment are not monitored. However, he said it is not time to blame one another.

The southern COVID-19 taskforce on late friday said the  24-hour blackout will be lifted with effect from 9:00 AM on 14 August 2021.

However, the SC19TF informed the public that the 11 people who tested positive have visited several places including shops and offices during the last few days after unlocking.

While the positive cases have been isolated and 84 primary contacts have been traced and put in quarantine, the possibility of transmission to other people cannot be completely ruled out, it said.

The SC19TF will therefore continue to trace and test all suspected individuals and carry out heightened surveillance and monitoring. People have been asked to follow safety protocols. 

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