Testing going on in Phuentsholing

Lockdown lifted in the South except for Phuentsholing which has 7 community cases and 4 frontline workers cases

A press release from the Prime Minister’s Office today said that except for Phuentsholing, the lockdown imposed on the thromdes and satellite towns in southern districts shall now be lifted. Respective regional and local taskforce members have been asked to initiate the process.

The lockdown was brought into place after two community cases came up on Friday.

It said this is in keeping with the outcome of the enhanced surveillance over the last three days that did not reveal any indication of the disease in those communities. Phuentsholing, however, will continue to remain under lockdown following the detection of COVID-19 in the community.

The PMO said that since the lockdown on April 16, over 9,805 tests were conducted across the country. Of that, 9,245 tests were carried out in the high risk areas. The figure includes 3,329 travellers from high risk areas and another 217 emergency travellers from Phuentsholing.

Samples were also collected from more than 1,130 frontline workers and 5,129 high risk clusters in the communities.

Meanwhile, surveillance will be intensified across the country and frequent mass testing will also be initiated in the coming days.

The PMO said this episode should remind us that now is not the time to unwind.

“As countries across the world grapple with increasing cases and deaths from COVID-19, we urge everyone to observe highest precaution and protect yourself and your loved ones from the disease. Wear a mask, refrain from travelling, stay indoors and limit gatherings. The battle against COVID-19 is not over,” said the PMO.

Rude awakening

Bhutan got a rude awakening on Friday evening with a 10-year-old class four boy of Phuentsholing Lower Secondary School and his 29-year-old mother testing positive on the RT-PCR test.

The two stay in the temporary Toorsa Colony also known as the Amochu settlement built for people who had to shift from Jaigaon.

The boy went for the test as he had symptoms of the flu.  The mother and son were moved into isolation for treatment.

His father tested negative on both antigen and RT-PCR but has been quarantined. His parents, teachers and 35 students in his class were treated as his primary contact.

MoH later collected 200 samples from the first contacts which are residents of block B and the school mates and everybody tested negative.

Earlier, under the enhanced surveillance testing protocols for schools, 297 students and teachers from the particular school had been tested on April 12. All tested negative then.

On Friday itself three women frontline individuals of which two are Desuups and one is a RBP personnel working in a quarantine center or hotel in Phuentsholing also tested positive.

However, they were working in containment mode which does not allow public contact.

All three frontline workers and the two parents had been recently vaccinated.

As news of the positive cases came out people came out in droves to shop for vegetables and grocery items in Phuentsholing, on Friday evening fearing an imminent lockdown.

More cases

On Saturday the MoH reported three more community cases from Phuentsholing which were a father, mother and son from the National Housing Development Corporation Limited (NHDCL). It also reported one front liner case on duty at a quarantine center.

Monday evening saw two community cases in the form of a man working in a factory at Pasakha and his wife. Their contacts are being traced.

This means Phuentsholing has a total of 7 community cases and 4 cases from frontline workers as of Monday evening.

The PMO earlier had announced that people who travelled from Phuentsholing to other high risk areas in the last 10 days (April 7, 2021) should get tested in the nearest clinics.

Since April 1, 2021, 165 emergency travellers who tested negative on RT-PCR exited Phuentsholing to 10 dzongkhags. The PMO urged those emergency travellers to visit the nearest flu clinic and get tested.

In the last one month, over 60,000 COVID-19 tests have been carried out across the country. A total of 26,657 tests were carried out in the high-risk zones in one month. In Phuentsholing thromde alone, over 17,000 tests have been carried out.

The PMO said while the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will give  partial protection, the risk of transmission of COVID-19 remains high. Therefore, it urged people to comply with the safety precautions.

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