Samdrup Jongkhar is in the second phase of the unlocking process. People in Samdrup Jongkhar are allowed to travel in their private vehicles. Trashigang Dzongkhag is under lockdown including Merak and Sakteng and Jomotshangkha and its gewogs and throms are under lockdown till the completion of the screening.
The Chairperson of Eastern COVID-19 Task Force (EC19TF) and Land Secretary Pema Chewang said given the large population and currently villages where there are primary contacts, the villagers are in the community quarantine and no movements are allowed in order to contain them, so mass screening could not be done.
With regard to health facilities, medical teams are being reinforced. Supply of essential items and logistic supplies have already been planned to deliver at least to last for a month, so the respective gewogs are asked to stock up in case in the event the lockdown continues for a month or so.
So far the positive patients are brought in Samdrup Jongkhar and asymptomatic patients are kept in an identified isolation facility in Dewathang and patients who are symptomatic or severe are referred to Mongar General Hospital. Similarly, in Jomotshangkha, the relevant task force members have identified the isolation facilities with enough human resources.
While in Merak, those herders who are in the pasture land, are also in quarantine. The herders are not allowed to move from one place to another but in the event if they have COVID symptoms, they are asked to come forward and get tested for COVID-19.
The Dzongkhag is planning to set up medical facilities in the jungle with a dedicated nursing team and doctors, otherwise coming to Merak gewog all the way from jungle is very far and there are high chances to expose the virus to others as they have to come through some settlements.
All the point of entries are manned by Police, Dessups, foresters and Royal Bhutan Army and all the formal trade is happening through the main checkpoint in Samdrup Jongkhar. SOPs are being followed very stringently.
The only challenge is breaching protocols and not complying with the SOPs that are in place. The public has to cooperate with the taskforce to comply with the SOPs.
Meanwhile, the Technical Advisory Team will provide final decision and guide the way forward.