65-year-old woman and her son are in stable condition 

Younten Tshedup 

Despite her age and the underlying health condition, the 65-year-old woman who tested positive to Covid-19 on August 9 in Phuentsholing is in stable condition.

The woman and her son, who also tested positive on the same day from the quarantine centre, were moved to the isolation ward at the national referral hospital yesterday.

The woman along with her family was living in Jaigaon, India before entering the country on August 6. The family, as per the usual protocol, was immediately quarantined in Phuentsholing upon their arrival.

Health officials said that the woman is a caregiver for two other members in the family who are above the age of 60 years and also have underlying health conditions.

Health experts have said that the risk of severe disease and complication from Covid-19 is higher among the elderly population.

While the mother and the son tested positive on the third day of the routine testing conducted in the quarantine centres, other members of the family who entered Phuentsholing together with them have tested negative to the virus so far.

Health Minister Dechen Wangmo said that although the woman was in a stable condition for now, she was being shifted to Thimphu as a precaution.

The ministry in a press release yesterday stated that since the initial days of the pandemic, the government has been repeatedly requesting and facilitating the return of all Bhutanese living across the border.

The government provides free quarantine services to all those who return. Returnees are kept in a tourist-grade hotel and provided free meals and WiFi provisions, among others for 21 days.

The press release states that all returnees are also tested at least three times for Covid-19 during the 21-day mandatory  quarantine for free. Each of the tests costs more than Nu 1,000 abroad.

On the command of His Majesty The King temporary shelters have been constructed at Amochhu in Phuentsholing for those Bhutanese who were living across the border prior to the pandemic. Some 40 families (returnees) were handed over with the keys to their shelters earlier in May.

With the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the region and especially in the neighbouring districts across the border, all Bhutanese are urged to be extra careful and reduce cross-border interactions.

“At the same time, we request all Bhutanese who prefer to return home to do it at the earliest with proper procedures in order to minimise the risk of getting infected by the virus and consequently spreading it to others in their families and communities,” stated the health ministry’s press release.

The ministry also cautioned all frontline workers to be extra careful in regard to their own safety.

“The government appreciates the frontline workers for their unwavering dedication to the Tsawa Sum.”

Meanwhile, with the two new positive cases there are 110 confirmed cases of which 96 are considered recovered as of yesterday. There are 14 in the isolation ward.

With no local outbreak of the virus and zero deaths, Bhutan continues to be in the Orange Zone.