Quarantine services catered to almost 4,000 people in three months in Phuentsholing

The Southern COVID-19 Task Force (SC19TF), through their helpline, has registered 3,725 people from 16 January till 22 March for Quarantine Facility (QF). Of the total registered, it was learnt that almost everyone was provided with the facilities, while the ones who have just registered are waiting for QF.

2,000 students followed by 537 standard people and 465 people on medical grounds registered for QF. There are 173 teachers who have registered for the facility, 163 terminally ill cases, and 279 others also went into QF.

Since January 2022 to March 2022, the quarantine facilities (QFs) were provided to almost 4,000 people, mostly in Phuentsholing. 995 outbound people availed themselves of QFs in other dzongkhags.

With the implementation of home quarantine system in Phuentsholing, 249 people were home quarantined in the just two days (23 and 24 March), and henceforth, home quarantine will be facilitated for domestic travelers.  

An official from the SC19TF said, “Although Phuentsholing had a good number of QFs, we still face the difficulty of having sufficient quarantine facilities in the past, as Phuentsholing had to cater the services to Bhutanese returnees, emergency and routine travelers as well as foreign workers.”

Thereby, she added that whenever there is shortage of QFs in Phuentsholing with increase in number of demand, they had to facilitate the services quarantining in other dzongkhags’ QFs.

However, now with the implementation of Phase II, whereby the domestic travelers will be home quarantined, the issue of shortages of QFs in coming days is unlikely. QFs can be used to provide better services to returnees and foreign workers, she added.

It was learnt that top priority is given to emergency cases with proper documentation evidence, with QF made available within one to two days right after the registration.

She said, “For the routine travelers, it is as per the sequence in the registration. In the earlier days, it took about a week or two, but of late with the efforts being put in place, the service is usually provided within a week’s time.”

At this juncture with the roll out of home quarantines, the service is being offered within 1-2 days for domestic travelers as well.

“To the extent possible, services are facilitated within the shortest span of time. For the emergencies, services are provided within 1-2 days. If biases are being observed, it probably could be on the emergency cases, like medical, death cases, etc., as we don’t follow the registration sequence then.”

Meanwhile, Tek said that he along with his family went to Samtse for a small family ritual just a few days before the lockdown, but with the news of lockdown, he immediately registered for QF since he has to reach office.

However, he said, “Few days after the lockdown, we registered for QF, and until now we did not get the services. We followed up several times but they kept saying shortage of QFs in Samtse. After waiting for a month, we again have registered in Phuentsholing, and yet we did not get the facility.”

After no outcome, they have decided to stay in home quarantine (HQ) and it has been three days that they are under HQ, and so far they did not see anyone coming and monitoring the facility, he added.

Another person who did not get QF is Kezang, and she said, “I registered a month ago, and until now, I did not hear anything from them. After the announcement of HQ services, I was happy as I did not want to be a burden on my relatives anymore.”

She was stuck in Phuentsholing for almost three months, and by next week she will be out of HQ and reunited with her parents in Paro.

Likewise, there are many people who have raised issues on the unavailability of QF in the social media platforms, with some of them contacting the media houses for enquiry on the matter.     

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