Trashiyangtse Dzong

Trashiyangtse dzongkhag is self sustaining during the second national lockdown

Located in a corner of eastern Bhutan, people in Trashiyangtse dzongkhag did not know much about the coronavirus pandemic. When the first national lockdown was imposed on August 11, 2020, it was a surprise. People however, did not face any major difficulties due to the lockdown.

The Dzongkhag has handled the country’s first lockdown without any problem. People were less aware about the COVID-19 pandemic but now although there is no virus, people are very cooperative in following health protocols.

People wash their hands before entering any shops or else they are not allowed.

Trashiyangtse Dzongda Thuji Tshering said Trashiyangtse is nothing different from the other dzongkhags. They have also drawn up standard operating procedures as per the government’s directives and zoning system as well. Lockdown was monitored as per the guideline.

The Dzongda said Trashiyangtse did not face any major problems. He said the point of entry in Trashiyangtse is in North and East. There are 10 point of entries with Arunachal Pradesh and 2 point of entries in the North and those are manned by Royal Bhutan Police, Armed Force Personnel and Dessups.

“We have been fortunate that Trashiyangtse has segregated community so we did not have problems especially with food and vegetables since Trashiyangtse grows most of the vegetables and they could produce enough and also supplied to the neighboring dzongkhags,” said Trashiyangtse Dzongda.

Now the country is under second National lockdown, although the Dzongkhag is prepared and learned lessons from the previous lockdown, over all there will not be much problem except for some challenges in terms of point of entries. Earlier there was some problems in essential supply and they barely managed to stock up petroleum and gas supplies.

The Dzongda also expressed that during the first lockdown, people did not understand due to ignorance or misunderstanding and sometimes it was difficult in diverting people, but eventually after few weeks and months people were aware. There are people who do not really listen although it is not a big issue. However, everyone is aware about COVID-19 as it is in the news now.

As per government’s directive, currently the Dzongkhag is identifying people who have travelled from Thimphu after 7th of December and getting them tested.

In a telephone interview, The Bhutanese newspaper talked with the gups of Trashiyangtse Dzongkhags.

Khamdang Gup, Norbu said the gewog did not faced serious challenges in the border areas since Trashiyangtse dzongkhags is very far, however, during the first national lockdown, it was little inconvenient for the people traveling in and out for business purposes. He said the relevant officials have clearly mentioned about the first lockdown and advised them. He said all the groceries were reached at the doorstep of each household in Trashiyangtse.

Since all the people had good experience as how to handle such situation during the first lockdown, Khamdang Gup said they are handling the second lockdown without much problem as well following government’s advices on dos and don’ts.

During the first lockdown, people in Khamdang gewog were very cooperative and now that the country is under second lockdown, everything is under control.

It has been almost a year now that people in his gewog knows what exactly is coronavirus. In order to follow strict health protocol, Khamdang gewog has come up with their own face masks where they sell it at Nu 5 to Nu 10, so that everyone can afford to buy. Even people who are non-verbal or hard of hearing are very cooperative in following health protocol.

Khamdang gewog has been doing well in following health protocols. He said people are not allowed to enter the shops unless they wash their hands and they have face masks covering their mouth. People have been very cooperative, may be because of the size of the people, as lesser they are the more easily then can be managed. Similarly, all the government offices, institutions and schools have been following health protocols very strictly.

Toedtsho Gup Dechen Wangdi said the entire nation is affected due to COVID-19 pandemic. During the first lockdown, normal life of the people was affected. People were not able to work or travel. However due to His Majesty’s grace, people did not suffer much.

Gup Dechen Wangdi said apart from all the challenges faced during the first lockdown, they have also gained knowledge. He said Bhutan being a small country, there is need to focus more on agricultural work and no land should be kept barren. People were also not aware about the virus even when the first case was reported in the country but now people are fully aware and they also know that there is no vaccine in Bhutan at the moment. The only thing they can protect themselves from the virus is by washing their hands frequently and wearing face mask. Since there are no positive cases in Trashiyangtse Dzongkhag and people are bit relaxed and so the Local Government has been advising people on the protective measures and what exactly is COVID-19 since no one knows how the situation can turn out to be.

He said people have also learned that stocking up food items in the house is important since such emergencies comes at any time and people must be ready to face any situation.

The Gup assured that in his gewog there is no virus and the situation is normal

Similarly, Yangtze Gup Goenpo said they did not have a big problem like in the rest of the dzongkhags. The only inconvenience they had was those people who were stuck in the middle of the road due to the sudden lockdown. However, he said the pandemic did not affect them too much and people are getting complacent now but the relevant agencies has been advising and reminding people time to time that this pandemic is different and dangerous.

During winter, people leave for pilgrimage but this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are advised not to go and only intra-dzongkhags emergency travelling is allowed.

Rest of the Gewogs in Trashiyangtse dzongkhags are fully aware what COVID-19 is and how the virus affects the individual or the nation as a whole.

This story is published under the Contact Grant Scheme of the Department of Information and Media, MoIC.

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