Bhutanese return home after India extends lockdown 

Phub Dem | Paro

It was a vacation Wangchuk Lhamo will never forget.

The woman from Phuentsholing was in New Delhi on a family vacation with her family including her two-year-old granddaughter and son earlier this year.

Before the holiday ended, the government of India announced a lockdown.

The family had planned their return on March 31 from Bagdogra airport. However, with the announcement of lockdown in India, their plan was foiled.

“I waited for the Indian government to lift the lockdown so that I can fly to Bagdogra and come home to Phuentsholing. But that never happened,” she said yesterday at the Paro airport after finally returning home. “I never thought the noble coronavirus would affect the region this hard.”

With the extension of lockdown in India, her family registered with the embassy to return home.

Sharing her experience during the lockdown, Wangchuk Lhamo said with a two-year-old child, it was difficult to stay home all day. “I only go outside twice a month to buy groceries. I go to the store as early as 5 am to avoid the crowd.”

Like Wangchuk Lhamo who was stranded in New Delhi, many decided to return home after the extension of the lockdown in India.

Migma, who has been working four years in a five-star hotel in India, decided to return only because of the extension of lockdown. Otherwise, she said that there was no problem.

She said they were allowed to go outside only to buy groceries once in a day. Fortunately for her, a grocery store would remain open in her locality.

Migma had not resigned from her job and hopes to return to India after the situation becomes normal.

Rinchen Phuba, a student, said if the lockdown continued, he would run out of essentials since he had no source of income. “People there do not follow physical distancing properly. Marts are crowded, and it is scary,” he said.

Meanwhile, Drukair and Bhutan Airlines brought back 28 Bhutanese, including seven patient and ten attendants from Kolkata and 115 Bhutanese from Delhi yesterday.

Patients and attendants were sent to quarantine facility in Thimphu and the rest were quarantined in Paro.

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