Thimphu and Paro may take longer to open than others due to cases

Since Thimphu and Paro Dzongkhag has been reporting positive cases every day, the two dzongkhags will not be released from the lockdown anytime soon. There may be certain relaxations.

 If the rest of the other dzongkhags do not have any more cases, then they can open up earlier.

Clinical Microbiologist at Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital and Technical Advisory Group member Dr Tshokey said they are testing every day and a lot of areas have been covered in Paro and other districts as well. All the primary and secondary contacts have been tested.

Dr Tshokey said testing is done with certain aims and objectives in different dzongkhags and different areas. COVID-19 test is done in Trashiyangtse with an aim to declare them as green zone and they can then open up. And there are yellow districts like Trongsa, Bumthang, and Punakha where cases are detected. The ministry is testing everybody whether there are any more cases or not, in order to declare them a green zone.

Currently COVID-19 testing is going on in Thimphu and Paro where the ministry is testing all the contacts, community and clusters. The main aim is to see whether there are still positive cases and testing will continue in Thimphu and Paro since these two dzongkhags have cases every day which have primary contacts who need to be tested.

Dr Tshokey said no one can be 100 percent sure that there is no virus in other dzongkhags. There are, however, pseudo indicators that the number of tests done is not detecting any positive cases. All people who have left Thimphu have been tested or quarantined but nobody can really be sure.

Currently, the general public with any flu like symptoms are being tested in flu clinics. Health workers and frontline workers are being periodically tested. In addition, mandatory testing is done for people travelling out of Thimphu and Paro on emergency purposes and ex-country travels.

As of 31st December 2020, a total of 14,000 people were tested and 2,346 were contact traced in Thimphu alone. COVID-19 test is done with Antigen in the flu clinics and also in general screening but if there are any close contacts or any suspects or anybody with flu like symptoms sample are taken using the RT-PCR.

On further mass testing for Thimphu the MoH said it will assess the situation after 14 days of lockdown and then determine testing requirements.

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