Health Minister, Dasho Dechen Wangmo

If it is found that the individual is not a stranded passenger, serious consequences will follow: Health Minister

According to the Health Minister, Dasho Dechen Wangmo, despite the travel restrictions, there are still people traveling back and forth between dzongkhags claiming they are stranded.

Lyonpo said that those people who are still on their route or have not arrived at their destination are referred to as being stranded.

“As we do the assessment, we are finding that people are moving around intra districts by claiming to be stranded. We would like to send out a plea to people to stop moving from one district to another claiming to be stranded passengers, as that carries serious consequences,” Lyonpo said, adding that people must accept responsibility since the Omicron variant is far more transmissible, and people should be concerned about the infection spreading to other dzongkhags.

Lyonpo said that there are currently around 9,000 passengers stranded in nearly eleven districts through records lodged with 1010.

3,000 stranded passengers have been helped so far, with roughly 2,068 individuals being sent to their destinations on Thursday.

“I hope none of them are coming back because more the mobility in the middle of an outbreak, the greater the chance of the virus spreading. So, if you don’t have to go, we ask that you avoid from traveling during this period of the outbreak,” Lyonpo said.

Lyonpo added that the major difficulty with stranded passengers is that once the government declares a lockdown, they receive a flood of requests from stranded passengers, making it extremely impossible to assist all of them, given the large number of stranded people.

“If you are not stranded, we ask that you do not register yourself as a stranded passenger. We’ve seen that people are registering themselves as stranded passengers, and then returning as stranded passengers,” Lyonpo added.

Lyonpo further added that there are many persons who are genuinely stranded, and who have a valid purpose to travel to Thimphu, such as for medical reasons and treatment, who are deprived of quarantine facility.

Meanwhile, following the detection of community cases on Thursday, the facilitation of movement of stranded individuals from Thimphu was halted with immediate effect till further notice.

The Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) has also been directed to finish deploying buses for stranded persons who have undergone RT-PCR testing, and have been cleared to go to their respective dzongkhags thus far. Unless otherwise instructed, no additional arrangements are to be made.

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