Outbreaks from quarantine facilities despite strict measures: PM explains to NA

During the Question Hour session in the National Assembly (NA), the Member of Parliament (MP) from Jomotshangkha Norbu Wangzom, requested the Prime Minister (PM) Dasho Dr Lotay Tshering to share the new measures and strategies in the quarantine facilities.

She said following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in the country, there have been two national lockdowns and lockdowns in other parts of the country as well. As per the sources, the outbreak of COVID-19 cases spread from the quarantine areas, she stated.

According to the Jomotshangkha MP, the outbreak could be from the Paro Airport in Paro, the recent case of breaching protocols in Thimphu, and similarly, government’s carelessness caused the outbreak in Phuentsholing.

In response, PM said that the government has been advocating and sensitizing on the COVID-19 pandemic from the first day itself. So far 65,250 people have come out of the quarantine centers and the budget spent on the quarantine facilities is Nu 610 million.

There are 570 DeSuups and Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) looking after the quarantine centers in the 20 dzongkhags. There are about 270 quarantine facilities in the country. PM also informed the House that DeSuups have manned the quarantine facilities through sleepless nights and not even meeting their families, for months and months on end, the frontliners have been doing their duty.

Instead, PM said many of the people are not very aware of the quarantine protocols, due to which the frontliners get exposed to the virus. It is very difficult to question the frontliners as to how they got the virus.

PM also said people must understand that around the world, Bhutan is doing well in combating the pandemic, and failure in certain areas are happening because the virus, itself, is something nobody knows. The COVID-19 pandemic affected people’s daily lives and accepting the new normal or change is difficult for people in the country.

Despite a lot of measures put in place, there have been some loopholes, so the government has put in place additional measures and frontliners which will be followed stringently, PM added.

The Jomotshangkha MP said she raised the issue due to a genuine concern, and not to complain that the government is not doing well in maintaining the quarantine facilities. She said there will be some challenges in handling the pandemic, and was concerned if the government could look into these issues for future correction.

“I know the Prime Minister is already working really hard in protecting people and the country in this pandemic. People are also aware of how hard the frontliners are working day and night to protect the country,” said MP Norbu Wangzom.

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