Declining cases indicate herd immunity in another 2 to 3 weeks

Thimphu, along with other dzongkhags, have seen seeing a steady decline in the number of COVID-19 cases, as most people are now either infected and immune to the Omicron variant infection, especially after the country transitioned its pandemic response from Phase I to Phase II.

Thimphu is seeing a lesser number of positive cases, as low as 12 positive cases compared to the past few weeks back where Thimphu saw more than 1,000 cases within 24 hours.

Upon asking whether the decrease in daily cases was due to lesser COVID-19 testing, an official from the Ministry of Health (MoH) said the daily decrease in case number is not linked to testing, but rather the transmission trend, which is decreasing gradually as most people are infected and becoming immune to the Omicron variant.

The decline in the COVID-19 cases has also indirectly made the public think that since everyone is getting infected now, the disease is mild. Many of them are getting a sense of comfort and are calm.

However, the MoH official said although the Omicron wave seems to be over as a large number of the population are infected and recovered, but pandemic is not yet over and transmission is still active in many parts of the world.  Therefore, it is likely that the new variant could emerge any time, which could then lead to another wave of the pandemic. Therefore, people should continue to follow the COVID-19 safety protocol as advised by MoH.

The MoH official said based on the trend of COVID-19 cases observed so far  after transiting from Phase I to II, the Omicron transmission has reached its peak and started declining. In the next 2-3 weeks, herd immunity against Omicron might be achieved in the population and the outbreak will be contained. 

MoH has conducted 68,707 tests from 1 – 25 April in the country, and Thimphu alone has tested 37,573 tests from 1 -25 April, which means Thimphu tests around 1,000 tests in a day.

Earlier the MoH official said more than 40 percent of the cases are reported to be asymptomatic, so people were not aware that they are infected, and furthermore, many other symptomatic cases are mild, therefore, people may not come forward for testing.

However, MoH still encourages symptomatic people to visit the flu clinic in RBP ground in Thimphu and health facilities in Dzongkhags  for testing.

The MoH has withdrawn the separate testing centers due to the low numbers of cases. Meanwhile, the country has so far reported 59,274 COVID-19 cases and 21 COVID-19 deaths have been recorded as of 3 May 2022. Currently, there are 629 active cases with 1 severe or moderate case.

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