Younten Tshedup  

Thirteen Royal Academy of Performing Arts (RAPA) artistes tested positive for Covid-19 while in quarantine in Thimphu, yesterday.

The artistes, 10 men and three women, were the primary contacts of the two (RAPA artistes) who tested positive in Dhaka, Bangladesh on March 24. They arrived in the country on March 28.

A team of 22 artistes from the academy were part of Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering’s delegation to Dhaka as a cultural troupe for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence.

Although the source of infection for the two RAPA artistes in Dhaka is not known, sources told Kuensel that the duo could have picked up the infection on their arrival in Dhaka.  Prior to their departure on March 19, the entire cultural troupe was tested for Covid-19 in Bhutan.

Lyonchhen in a Facebook post last night said that the two artistes in Dhaka were discharged from the hospital and were put in an isolation facility. “The government of Bangladesh and our Dhaka Embassy have given them excellent support and care.”

He said that the 13 new positive cases were being taken care of by the health staff. “I am in touch with them on phone. Just as the performers from other countries, the team presented the gifts of Bhutan’s rich music and culture to our dear friends in Bangladesh. They made us immensely proud and I thank them.”

Meanwhile, on March 24, on the day of the RAPA team’s performance in Dhaka, one of the musicians complained of headache and fever at the performance venue.

He was then taken to a first aid tent where a Covid-19 rapid test was conducted.  The result was positive.  He also tested positive on the confirmatory RT-PCR test.

According to sources, following the incident, as primary contacts of the man, the entire RAPA team were held back from returning with the rest of the entourage as scheduled.

Lyonchhen and other members of the entourage returned on March 25.  Rest of the entourage including the prime minster tested negative yesterday.