7-day quarantine to continue: PM

The Prime Minister Dasho (Dr) Lotay Tshering said that despite the second dose being given, the 7-day quarantine for travel from high to low risk areas will continue.

He said that the original plan was to reduce or relax this time period after the second dose, but that changed with the rise of the much more transmissible Delta variant.

Lyonchhen said that delta has led to tighter restrictions around the world with many places going into lockdown, countries going for a third dose and some even adopting a 3-week quarantine.

The PM said that Thimphu has 137,000 people and before the pandemic everyday there were around 3,000 to 4,000 people traveling from Phuentsholing to Thimphu and so if this system was not introduced then the virus would also spread widely in Thimphu and other places.

He said he is aware of the difficulties faced by the people as he and the ministers often get calls from people asking to be made exempt from the quarantine as somebody’s father is in ICU or somebody’s child is in ICU, but they are not able to exempt them.

He pointed out that the 7-day quarantine is expensive for the government which has to pay for the accommodation and the food.

The PM said he is aware that this quarantine system hurts people who travel regularly for work and he is also aware that many people had to wait for months as there were not enough quarantine centers.

The 7-day quarantine system has shown to be an important defense against COVID-19 spreading from the south to the rest of Bhutan as quite a few positive cases were detected from people in the 7-day quarantine.

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