Risk assessment being carried out to see the extent of transmission in Gelephu: Health Minister

One frontline worker tested positive for COVID-19 in Gelephu on 27 August through which they have done contact tracing and as of evening of 28 August everyone who are connected to index case tested negative.

The Health Minister during the press briefing said, “We should consider that it is a case of local transmission. We are assessing the case and I am a believer that along the borders the compliance towards basic use of PPE’s such as face mask, hand washing and usage of shield has been amazingly good.”

She said that they hope and pray that this would have had certain impact on preventing the virus from being easily transmitted because for the people who are there in the front lines, the compliance to the basic PPE that they have been advocating has been fairly good.

They feel this could be one factor but again, Lyonpo said, that they are not ruling out having multiple cases in Gelephu for which they will again assess the risk within 24 to 48 hours through which they will know the extent of the transmission.

“Given that it’s a national lockdown we have the greatest advantage because there is minimal movement of people so that gives us enough time to plan and implement our interventions,” she added.

In addition, she said that scanning of whole Gelephu will depend upon their assessment and even if they have to do so, they have all the teams ready to be mobilized.

The person who tested positive was symptomatic and he went to a flu clinic. “This is where again we plead to the public that during lockdown if they are symptomatic, meaning if you have fever, dry cough, congestion, chest and throat pain and loss of smell, we encourage people to come forward and seek medical help immediately, as we have 50 flu clinics,” Lyonpo said.

 “All our health facilities are open and are equipped with antigen testing which means you can test right away and be able to provide the result then and there. These are services available for the public and we encourage public to avail these services”, she added.

Meanwhile, Lyonpo said that for now, simultaneously they are having a highway sweeping tests recognising that there is a higher risk in Phuentsholing and they are testing every member of the households along the highways.

They will look at that data which will give them fairly good evidence on what is the extent of the transmission, she added.

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