Prime Minister Dasho (Dr) Lotay Tshering

Opening of lockdown to depend on how compliant people are with protocols: PM

The Prime Minister Dasho (Dr) Lotay Tshering said that how long the lockdown will last will hinge on two factors. One is if the lockdown is designed for flattening the curve or elimination of the virus and for Bhutan the latter is the aim.

He said the other factor will be on how compliant the people are during the lockdown.

Lyonchhen said that if all the people are complaint and do not mix around even within buildings then it would not go beyond 2 weeks (30th January) and even if there are positive cases after that it would be non-infectious in nature.

He said that even if there is a positive case who is asymptomatic and is missed during testing, at the end of two weeks the person will have recovered.

Lyonchhen said epidemiologically if there are no positive community cases after two weeks then mass testing is not required, but in the case of Bhutan he said mass testing would be done.

The PM said such testing will be done because there are Bhutanese who can bear a lot of pain and symptoms and not go to the hospital.

The PM said that with Omicron since it is more infectious it is easier to pick up cases in tests.

He said that ordinarily two weeks is more than enough if people followed protocol and within this period Dzongkhags can also change colors from red to yellow and from yellow to green.

The PM said that with three community cases detected in Thimphu on Friday people may get panicked, but he said they should not worry as in fact the government was expecting much more cases after many tests. He said it is a good sign that such a low number of cases showed up in Thimphu.

Technical Advisory Group member Dr Tshokey said that in Wangdue it is now clear that there is a lot of cases since there was a lot of exposure, and so the aim now is not to go find the virus as it will be there in numbers, but to now contain it and let it go away during the lockdown.

This strategy in Wangdue was visible as while Wangdue reported 61 cases on Friday it picked up only 388 samples who were first contacts.

Only time will tell if such a strategy will be wise or work out in the end.

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