Yangtse and T/gang close border for nomads

Neten Dorji  | Trashigang

The famous Choeten kora or Namgang kora will not happen on March 24, as it used to be held every year. Trashiyangtse dzongkhag decided to call off one of the most popular festival in eastern Bhutan in the wake of the new coronavirus outbreak.

Together with it, the planned Bazaguru dungrup, the annual moenlam chenpo and the Gomkora tshechu are also postponed indefinitely.  

These are all decided as precautionary measures. Trashiyangtse has three gewogs that borders the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh- Jangphutse in Toetsho gewog, Duktey in Yallang and Shingphel in Bumdeling gewog.

Hundreds from the bordering state visit Trashiyangtse, especially to attend the local festivals.

Trashiyangtse dzongdag, Thuji Tshering, said that as the dzongkhag shares border with Tawang, the capital of Arunachal, and people have close connections, the priority was to consider the people in the bordering area. “We have informed people across the border on the postponement of events in Trashiyangtse to avoid visiting Trashiyangtse,” he said.

People of Tawang mainly visit Trashiyangtse for the famous Chenga kora, Namgang kora and Gomphu kora. 

“In consultation with people across the border, we decided to stop them visiting. We also informed them about the first reported positive case of COVID-19 in the country.”

The people of Jangphutse trade goods with those in Tawang. However, after the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the country, local people stopped visiting Tawang.

Officials from Royal Bhutan Army, Royal Bhutan Police  and department of forest are monitoring the border everyday, according to the dzongdag. “Officials keep record of the movement of people and it has been few days without any movement.”

People in Sakteng, another gewog bordering India, were also briefed and encouraged to refrain from crossing the border for business.

Sakteng dungpa, Sangay Dawa, said that drungkhag administration created awareness to the public and in collaboration with local leaders of the two gewogs and traced 31 households from two gewogs of Merak and Sakteng staying with domestic animals near the border.

“We also told them to minimise visiting crowed people and public places,” the drungpa said. “In case of any symptoms of COVID-19, they are told to report to the nearest BHU at Luari gewog and Zangthey BHU in Samdrupjongkhar.”

Trashigang dzongkhag health officer, Gang Dorji, said the dzongkhag has identified a flu clinic and a quarantine centre at two hospitals at Trashigang and Reserbu. A flu clinic and quarantine centres were also set up at five BHU grade I across the dzongkhag.

In Trashiyangtse, the dzongdag said that as per guidelines of health and home ministries, they have readied quarantine and isolation facilities at Khamdang for six gewogs and one at Yangtse for other two gewog.

Dzongkhag health officer, Tshewang Sither, said the dzongkhag health sector has set up flu clinic at Khamdang BHU and another one at the dzongkhag hospital.  “We also set up 23 quarantine rooms at the old engineer unit, near the dzong, RNR centre and dzongkhag guest house.”

A separate flu clinic was also set up. “In case of suspected Covid-19 case, we also planned to open more quarantine rooms at Khamdang lower secondary school,” the health officer said.