Govt to digitalize information of people travelling in the country to aid with contact tracing

Minister says lockdown came at the right time to prevent spread

Health Minister Dechen Wangmo said the the government will digitalize the information of a person travelling so that contact tracing will be easier.

Lyonpo said that at a wider level there is currently no data and system if one has to contact trace a taxi. She said that a lot of time is consumed in this effort.

“Important lessons from Phuentsholing are on oversight and monitoring. So we will now digitalize the information and if we can place this system then it will be easier to contact trace.

So people travelling will have to register and this will help in tracing. The biggest lesson is coordination and data to make strategic decisions,’ Lyonpo said.

Lyonpo added, “Those coming from border area will have to get registered where they want to travel and it will be easier for us to trace using the system. At any given point we should have access to where the person is and that will bring us to the 21st century. And because of this we are trying to digitalize Bhutan.”

Meanwhile, Lyonpo said that no expert can say there is no case in Thimphu. One person can spread the cases to 5 to 6 people and so on.

“It takes only 13 cases in a place like Bumthang Dzongkhag for example to infect the entire Dzongkhag,” Lyonpo said.

Lyonpo said they are confident due to the tests and surveillance so far. However, they can never take it for granted as there is a constant threat.

“It is very difficult for the Ministry to say that there is no virus in the area. From where we gain confidence is surveillance, from flu clinic and hospital but we cannot say that their no virus in the community, however we can say that it has not yet spread in the community,” Lyonpo said.

Lyonpo added, “As per the technical team the lockdown came at the right time as cases would have spread even if the lockdown was late by even a week. 50 percent of the positive cases were detected in the course of lockdown.”

She said that while an area maybe free of the virus today the same cannot be said in the future.

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