Desuups are everywhere serving the nation at this juncture despite a harsh winter, community transmission and personal sacrifices with time away from family or the comforts of home. Despite difficulties, they are not complaining and are helping guard everyone against the virus, round the clock.
Desuups shared that they are satisfied as they have witnesses people taking COVID-19 protocol seriously and are disciplined and cooperative during this lockdown. They said that the second lockdown is going smoothly compared to the first lockdown.
A bone chilling cold and convincing people are the only challenges, however, they manage to overcome these. They have also not faced any harassment from the public.
Desuups are put up in hotels whereas those who did not get to stay in hotels are being accommodated in schools and are provided with heaters.
Desuup Director Tashi Tobgay said that the extreme cold is the only challenge Desuups are facing at the moment. “Everything is going smoothly in this lockdown because we have made few changes in our strategy with our experience from the first lockdown,” he added.
With local transmission, Desuups have had to take extra responsibility whereby they have also been deployed in buildings wherever positive cases are detected. They are also responsible for reaching essential goods to their door steps as ordered by the people who are under home quarantine.
He said, “We have deployed almost 1,500 desuups in Thimphu alone and we have 1,000 desuups waiting. It is good to see that everybody wants to come forward. Overall we have around 5,000 active dessups on the ground.”
He said people are more cooperative this time may be because of local transmission and if this continues than the transmission can be stopped. This time, desuups are not allowed to go out of their designated zones to prevent local transmission among them.
“Once the lockdown is lifted, all the desuups will be tested and they will be allowed to go home only if they test negative. Otherwise, if they test positive they will have to be quarantined. Since lockdown, desuups have been tested twice,” he added.
Former Minister of Economic Affairs and Desuup Lekey Dorji said that His Majesty himself is so concerned and risking his own life to keep everyone safe from the virus and the least he can do is to serve the nation at this time.
He said, “Comparing to the first lockdown, the second lockdown is going smoothly, however, we see the room to make a few changes. If we can have medical shops, meat store, vegetable vendors and groceries in every zone, the people will have no reason to cross their zone risking infection.”
Today, people seem to cross their respective zones risking to infection because they do not get everything from one zone. He said, there are some people who try to come onto the streets, however, after explaining to them on the dangers of the infection, they cooperate.
Ordering essentials and delivering them through Desuups was quite challenging during the first lockdown whereby the zoning system at the time did not go well.
He said, “Being a family man, living away from family is difficult and he on behalf of his colleagues urged people to stay indoor as far as possible and to follow COVID-19 protocol at all times. I am happy with the support from my family to serve.”
A youth Desuup Thinley shared that he feels privileged and lucky to be serving the nation in a time of need. The only difficulty at this moment is cold which gets extreme at night and the timing of duty is sometimes challenging, he added.
He said, “The lockdown this time is different from the first lockdown due to community transmission whereby the duty deployment is quite intense. We get worried that we might get exposed to virus while on duty, however, I would serve to my best as our motto is to serve our country even if we have to risk our lives.”
Another youth Desuup Norbu Dema said, “I am fortunate to be serving the nation and this is an opportunity for us to to learn. When we fail to satisfy people’s needs we feel guilty. However, they do not complain as they now understand the situation well.”
29-year-old Tshering Wangmo said, “I take this is an opportunity to prove that we can stand together in sharing the concern and worry of His Majesty. Besides the cold, having to interact with public is challenging. People need reasons to come out whereby it becomes difficult for us to convince them about the risk.”
She said that having to stand and move around for 5 to 6 hours is difficult, especially during night and early morning due to the cold, however, they are satisfied as it is for a good cause.
A tour guide Tshering Ngeldrup said, “I feel honored to fulfill His Majesty’s dream. It is sometime challenging to calm down frustrated people. However, the situation is not as worse as it was during the first lockdown.”
In order to keep their zone COVID free, they patrol the area 24/7 whereby they guard people from coming in and going out of their zones.
He said, “The cold is challenging but we can manage and we are thankful for better place to sleep and awesome food to eat. I am happy and I will serve until the end.”
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