Photo Courtesy: MOH Facebook

Risk assessment is carried out before allocating roommates in quarantine facilities: MoH

The Ministry of Health (MoH) makes a risk assessment before allocating roommates in the quarantine facilities. Only the people who face the same level of risks and coming from same area are kept together. Otherwise a person is always kept single.

A 30-year-old man, Chimi Dorji, who returned from Kuwait and has been in a quarantine facility in Paro for 19 days, said the government’s initiative to keep all the returnees in the quarantine facilities is very safe, as sending them directly home from the airport would mean spreading the virus to their families and the communities. He said people often do not know whether they are carrying the virus or not.

He said he feels safe staying alone in the quarantine room because it minimizes the spread of the virus. However, every individual is tested at the airport so it is safe, said Chimi. He also expressed happiness at the good food he gets to eat in the quarantine facility.

He said there are times when one feels lonely and anxious even with all the free internet and phone calls with friends and family.

Chimi Dorji had initially planned on working at a construction site initiated by the labour ministry, but he has decided to go directly to his village after the 21 days of quarantine.

A 29-year-old returnee from Dubai, who will be completing her quarantine next week, said that she is glad that the government took so much effort to keep all the Bhutanese safe. She said it was wise to extend the quarantine period to 21 days. She and her roommate expressed their gratitude to His Majesty The King and the government for caring for them.

Similarly, a second year student studying in Sikkim, India, Thinley, 23, who completed his 21 days quarantine said he was scared while he was being tested for COVID-19. He tested negative along with his roommate at the airport. While he was in quarantine, he missed his family and friends, but he also said that he is grateful that he could complete the 21 days quarantine without any problems. He said he is thankful to the government for the good food and the other facilities. He also said that keeping two persons in one room is sometimes risky. “I was scared too but if we take necessary precautions then I think it is fine,” he said.

Health Minister Dechen Wangmo said those who have had contacts with COVID-19 patients are kept in separate rooms. Those with same level of risk and coming from same area are only kept together. Otherwise the people under quarantine are always kept single despite the rooms being for double occupancy.

Lyonpo said all amenities are provided and all Quarantined Individuals (QIs) are monitored 24/7, so they are 100 percent safe. Majority of the QIs have provided good feedback on the food provided by the hotels. Nonetheless, the ministry does receive complaints occasionally.  The complaints are dealt by the Prime Minister’s Office, and subsequently, most of the hotels have improved.

On an average, Nu 1,000 is spent per person per day. Around 7,600 people were facility quarantined so far. Around Nu 159.6 million, which accounts only the food and lodge and doesn’t include the cost of testing and test kits, has been spent on quarantine. It also does not include the expenditure incurred for the DeSuups and police personnel on duty. There are 59 quarantine facilities in the country, and currently there are 1,173 people in quarantine facilities.

As of friday Bhutan had 67 cases of which 22 are recovered, 26 tested negative and are in de-isolation and only 19 are in isolation.

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