Yangchen C Rinzin 

The 27-year-old woman who tested positive for Covid-19 in Gelephu on Monday had used the Druk Trace App only once. Had she used the App every place she visited, tracing contacts would have been easier.

The free app, which was seen as a cheap and reliable way of tracing people visiting public places had not lived up to the expectation.

At a press conference yesterday, Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering said using the Druk Trace App is everyone’s responsibility and that people must use the app.

Awareness on the benefit of using the app started since it’s launched on April 20.

Although Lyonchhen did not mention the place the woman had used the app, the health ministry was able to trace about 13 people through the App she had used only once.

However, in another incident, she had visited one of the banks and her friend had used the app. This helped the health ministry trace a few more people.

Druk Trace App is a contact tracing mobile application, which maintains a log of visitors at a workplace or public centres.

The data and information is registered with the health ministry in real-time and enables easy contact tracing of people who would have come in direct contact with a Covid-19 patient in case of local transmission.

Lyonchhen said that if the woman had made use of the app, all the contacts would have been traced without any difficulty. He added if the government could respond to the cases and incidents because of successful contact tracing, it would only benefit the public.

“The app is important, the record will always be there and we can trace people immediately.”

As of July end, about 204,020 mobile phones have registered for the app. A total of 72,879 have registered for the QR codes. 14,428 in the public transport sector registered for the QR Codes as per the health ministry.

However, there were only 1,344,657 total QR Codes scanned, which means on an average, every person scanned seven times indicating a minimum usage of the app.

Meanwhile, Lyonchhen urged people to start using face masks.

“It is not guaranteed you will not be infected if you use the face mask, but it reduces the chances of getting infected,” Lyonchhen said.