All contacts of the case were frontline workers as of yesterday

Nima | Gelephu

Sarpang like any other dzongkhags in the country was on its way to ease the lockdown when a frontline worker test positive for Covid-19 yesterday.

The 22-year-old frontline worker, who is the third positive case in the dzongkhag, visited Gelephu Central Regional Referral Hospital’s emergency ward with flu-like symptoms towards midnight on Wednesday.

The patient was referred to Thimphu yesterday.

Over 30 contacts of the positive case, all frontline workers were quarantined. The surveillance and contact tracing continues.

The close contacts of the case include three health officials who attended him at the emergency ward. The flu-screening centre located separately in the old hospital block is operational from 9am till 3pm.

The surveillance and contact tracing team from Gelephu CRRH collected over 80 samples from the point of entry in Gelephu and Bhur gewog.

The frontline worker was on duty at the point of entry near the border gate since August 7. 

The patient had travelled till Samtenling (Bhur) gewog while on duty, according to the officials.

Medical Superintendent of CRRH, Dr Dorji Tshering said the man could have been exposed while at work. “But, we will have to rule out other sources of infection with active surveillance, which is underway,” he said.

He added that the officials were wearing protective gear like gloves, masks, and face shields, among others while on duty. “There could have been a breach of protocol but we have to rule out other sources of infection,” he said.

The contacts of the case also include officials from immigration, health officials, De-Suups, and police officials who were on duty at the Bhutan India border gate.

CRRH has temporarily suspended mobile clinic service that was started to provide the people with essential medical services during the lockdown.

The number of vehicles hitting the road reduced drastically, the roads and the queues leading to shops authorised to open during the lockdown saw fewer customers.

The third positive case was reported when the dzongkhag Covid-19 task force was charting plans to distribute movement cards to the residents. Zones were identified and movement within the gewogs eased.

The dzongkhag was divided into four different zones: towns that include Gelephu thromde, a buffer zone that includes four chiwogs surrounding Gelephu Thromde, and Sarpang tar, and gewogs.

A resident from Gelephu said it was worrying and also confusing how the patient was infected despite the border gate being closed since the lockdown.

“Earlier there was a risk from vegetable imports and other heavy vehicles. It’s scary now,” he said.

The two women who tested positive to Covid-19 were moved to the de-isolation facility for two weeks after testing negative on the RT-PCR test on Tuesday.