The understanding so far has been that only the southern border areas are high risk zones but the Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said it covers the other areas adjacent to the border too.
He said all the inhabitants adjacent to the international boundary will be considered high risk and so people travelling from and to those high risk areas will now be restricted.
The PM said they have categorized the country into two regions as high risk region and low risk region.
The areas that are classified as high risk region are as of now the places adjoining the border.
“It is not just the south but all the people living right next to the border are considered as high risk areas. The rest of the country are low risk area but there is no risk free area in the country. So as of now Thimphu is under low risk and Phuentsholing is under high risk,” said the PM.
The PM said the testing and quarantine is for all people coming from all high risk areas which is from Tendu to Jomotsangkha to some pockets of Trashigang, Trashiyangtze, Lhuentse and Gasa. It would apply to people living in those adjacent border areas.
The PM said while it includes the northern border but there are hardly any people living adjacent to the border and the farthest is Lunana but there are mountains in between.
He said they will issue a separate note of the dos and don’ts and what will be the quarantine but they will have to undergo quarantine if they want to move to low risk areas.
The quarantine period is seven days.
In terms of the southern high risk areas he said all the places are getting unlocked and moving out in a phased manner. Some are already able to walk within the Throm like the first three days in Thimphu. In places like Phuentsholing people are allowed to move with their cards with Thursday as the third day.
“I told them that all the places will now unlock like we now unlocked Thimphu with three days of initial walking with the cards in the zone, then three days of walk within the Throm, three days of public transportation at half the capacity and then three to fours days of private transportation with half the capacity,” said the PM.
He said Phuentsholing must have probably finished the first phase of walking within the zone with the card and then they might allow the people to walk within the Throm, then allow taxis and buses and then private cars within the Throm and that is where offices will also be open.
Lyonchhen said the exception is for Samdrup Jongkhar which was also moving out with this card system but with the recent positive case they will continue with the card movement.
Since all primary contacts are negative that is why they do not want to lockdown Samdrup Jongkhar.
He said the movement will go on but the unlocking phase will be a little longer.
Lyonchhen said they are going to screen all the Samdrup Jongkhar town residents where randomized screening will go on. The whole Dzongkhag does not need to be screened as many places are far away from the town.
The Health Minister said that around 2,000 people will be screened.
“So if all are negative from the community screening results of Samdrup Jongkhar then it should be unlocked like the other places. If there are positive cases depending on the cluster mode then we will redesign the unlocking,” said the PM.
Lyonchhen said the Phuentsholing red zone has not been unlocked as it will go on for a month. The red zone will be tested after 21 days starting from 24th September. “We told them to cordon the area and the cordoning time is at least one month.”
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