Red building in Thimphu sealed two days late

In the second round of mass testing done on 10 February 2022 a lady tested positive from a Norzin Tag building.

The lady had gone to meet her father and brother who stay in the basement of the Druk Shopping Complex before there were positive cases there. The father and brother later turned positive as part of the cases from the building and the lady was tested as a primary contact and she turned positive on 10 February 2022.

However, before that she had a shop in the ground floor of building in Norzin Tag and she ended up transmitting the virus to her cousin brother and sister and their family in the building leading to around 11 cases from the family.

The tracing team found that the brother and sister in the building had a sister in Motithang above the school there and a brother with a building in lower Motithang.

Though the sister and brother had not visited their infected siblings in Norzin Tag the MoH team contacted them and said they would have to be tested and both have initially tested negative.

As a precaution of suspect contact the sister’s building above the school was declared a red building and cordoned off before the lockdown opened in Thimphu.

The same was supposed to be done to the building in lower Motithang the day before the lockdown lifted in Thimphu, but in what looks like some miscommunication or coordination issue between the MoH team and the RBP and Desuups, the building in lower Motithang was not cordoned off.

As a result, when the lockdown was opened on Sunday morning which is 13 February the tenants in the building which comprise a mix of civil servants and business people moved out on Sunday and Monday.

The building landlord who is the brother and suspected contact said that on Monday morning around 10 am he got a call from MoH asking him to call back his tenants as his building is supposed to be a red building. He said the person calling from MoH was surprised that the building had not been sealed off earlier before the lockdown opened.

He said that he and his wife called the tenants, but they had already moved to their offices, shops and elsewhere.

It was only by late afternoon around 3 pm that all the tenants were back in the building.

The RBP and Desuups sent to seal the building also came to the site, but they also did not have very clear instructions.

A tenant in the building said as far as he knows he never saw the landlord coming out during the lockdown except for mass testing.

He said that the people in the building are not upset about being in a red building for 7 days, but they are more upset that it was not sealed during the lockdown and due to some communication lapse the building residents were allowed to move around Thimphu for two days.

The tenant who is a businessman said on Monday his wife went to her shop while he went to some to meetings and government offices for his work.

He asked what if he or any of the building residents are positive, and they would not like to be the cause of any COVID spread in Thimphu.

The tenant said he is shocked with how lightly the whole matter was handled by authorities and the lapses that happened.

He said there is reason to worry if the same thing is happening in the other red buildings in Thimphu.

He also asked why the health team or others were not calling him and instead asking the landlord to call him.

Here the Health Minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo said that when they interview people on where they have been they don’t share the information completely and somebody else has to tell them that they saw the person going here and there.

She said that they need people to be honest with their travel history. Lyonpo said that they did not get complete information on the sister and brother’s buildings initially.

However, the landlord said when the health team came for testing to his building it was before the lockdown in Thimphu opened and they could have sealed it then.

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