Phuentsholing sees 2 weeks without community cases but on high alert

Despite the absence of community transmission in the last couple of weeks, Phuentsholing is not taking it easy.

The Chairperson of Southern COVID-19 Task Force (SC19TF) said it would be impossible for SC19TF and relevant agencies alone to monitor public adherence to health safety protocols. Each and every member of the public needs to own up and take responsibility.

“We have also recorded a few incidents of breach of health safety protocols and guidelines, which could jeopardize our collective efforts to contain the virus. Our biggest fear is complacency and overconfidence, which can undo all good that we have achieved thus far,” said the Chairperson.

Some measures are being put in place, such as strengthening the compliance to COVID-19 health safety protocols by the containment centers like MDP, industries and business firms, by conducting COVID-19 sensitization meetings and undertaking signing.

They have strengthened the capacity and role of regional inspection and monitoring team for risk assessment, continued mass community sensitization and advocacy.

They also implement targeted and enhanced surveillance strategy amongst high risk population groups, as per the surveillance strategy of MoH, follow enhanced sharing of public health information, education and risk communication on COVID19 through various social media and forums, and safety measures at the hospital have been enhanced.

To decongest the hospital, new OPD services have been established at PMSS and Pasakha.

The Chairperson said enhanced surveillance is one of the main strategies for COVID-19 prevention and control, besides people coming to the flu clinics. In line with the MoH policy of active case detection strategy, high risk population groups are identified and targeted for active surveillance and testing at regular intervals by the hospital surveillance team.

On an average, up to 400 to 500 RT-PCR tests are conducted on a daily basis for high risk target groups, like MDP loaders, PoE frontline workers, employees of Pasakha Industrial area, automobile workshops to name a few.

A member of National Immunization Technical Advisory Group said, hereafter, Phuentsholing may not have any more lockdowns, until and unless, there are new viruses coming in, and if it is becoming more infectious and the vaccines are not working, so in that situation then it will be a different case. So NITAG’s reaction will be based on the epidemiology.

He said as far as possible aggressive contact tracing will be done, and if the primary contacts are in every place then a blackout for 24 hours will be imposed. It will depend upon the number of primary contacts.

The NI-TAG member also clarified that the hotels are not being used as quarantine facilities in Phuentsholing. That is why there is a shortage of quarantine facilities, and most are quarantined in Paro and Thimphu. Since most of the travelers want to come to Thimphu and Paro, it will be easier for them to quarantine in Thimphu and Paro. Another reason is that a huge number of cases are detected in Phuentsholing and they are quarantined there.

Meanwhile, as of 26 August, there are six active cases being treated in RIGSS COVID-19 Isolation Hospital. A competent medical team from Phuentsholing Hospital has been deployed and all the patients are presently doing well without any complication.

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