Phuentsholing short of Quarantine and Isolation facilities

With an increase in number of COVID-19 cases in Phuentsholing, they are in acute shortage of Quarantine Facilities (QF) and Isolation Facilities (IF). As of 3 February 2022, they have reported 2,233 cumulative positive cases.

Phuentsholing has more than 400 active cases. They have around 1,000 people in QF for now.

They are facing acute shortages of space in quarantine which is why they are using DGPC non-hospital isolation and RIGSS non-hospital isolation to quarantine the positive cases.

Sonam Wangyel, Chair of Southern COVID-19 Task Force (SC19TF) and Home Secretary said that since they have shortage of QF, they are using hotels to accommodate positive cases, and for that reason they are now putting primary contacts under home quarantine all under strict surveillance.

He said, “The major challenges we are facing at the moment is shortage of space and we are not able to facilitate the stranded travelers because there is no space in Phuentsholing and also in Thimphu.”

Meanwhile, he said the talk in the town that the decision to put Phuentsholing under complete lockdown from the beginning could have contained the spread of virus is not scientifically represented.

He said whatever they do has to be justified and it should be based on the epidemiological studies.

“These decisions are very difficult to take and normally these kinds of decisions are advised by Technical Advisory Group (TAG) and when it comes to lockdown, the National COVID-19 Task Force (NC19TF) has to approve it,” he added.

He said, “Everyone is working round the clock to make the best decisions. People want complete lockdown with their given reasons. We are doing our best to serve their needs. We are allowing operations of certain businesses because they are contained and there is no risk of virus transmission.”

He said people want SC19TF to lift the lockdown and make all the businesses operable even when they know that there is wide spread of virus in the community. “And that is because they think that the task force is allowing import and export and because industries are allowed to operate,” he said.

“People do not realize that we are allowing import and export for the nation and for the people. They do not realize that if those are stopped then Bhutanese may starve as the country is dependent on imported goods,” he added.

“We are allowing industries in Pasakha to run because we want people working under them to be still employed. When they are operating the government is somehow getting benefited through the revenue from them. We are not doing this to make the rich richer but we are doing to for a good cause. We urge people to give a serious thought on this,” he added.

He said they are working for the interest of the nation, for the country’s economy and safety. He said that their job becomes very challenging in a place like Phuentsholing. However, they want to ensure that they will keep enhancing the surveillance.

He said that testing is being carried out everyday. “As far as the COVID-19 cases are concern we have not sent anyone outside Phuentsholing,” he said.

If anyone wants to travel from Phuentsholing to Green color Dzongkhags, they will have to undergo 7-days quarantine.   

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