Enough essential food items to last at least for 3 months: MoEA minister

Yangchen C Rinzin 

Many queued in front of the designated shops when they opened yesterday in many dzongkhags fearing stocks might exhaust. This was because only limited shops are opened in the respective zones.

However, the government has stocked adequate essential food items to last at least for three months, according to Economic Affairs Minister Loknath Sharma.

Although the statistics was not available, Lyonpo added there are adequate perishables to last for about two months.

The minister said that arrangements were in place to ensure a continuous supply of food items and other essentials such as fuel, medicines, and LPG cylinders. “Shops can restock through identified wholesalers. We’ll ensure there is no problem in supply when it comes to essential food items and people shouldn’t worry.”

The economic affairs ministry will also monitor pricing of general commodities. The market price information can be availed from the ministry’s website.

Lyonpo said that although it was a nationwide lockdown, the import of essentials has been continuing to ensure there is no disturbance in the supply of essentials to the public. “We’ll maintain consistency and ensure people get what they want.”

With limited storage capacity for LPG cylinders and fuels, the ministry has ensured that there is a continuous import to meet the demand. With three suppliers identified to deliver LPG cylinders in various zones, they have been tested for Covid-19. The delivery is expected to begin from today.

“We’ve made sure to monitor and learning from the last lockdown we’ve ensured we don’t run out of essentials,” Lyonpo said.

However, many people suggested that Thimphu thromde must allow more shops to open so that people can get enough groceries and do not have to rush to limited shops.

Pema Yangchen, a resident in Changzamtog, had to wait almost an hour to buy a tray of milk for her daughter. “The main worry is if all shops in the zones would have vegetables because in our area, we don’t have.”

Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji during a press brief yesterday said that there were cases where some people have complained of unavailability of essential food items like meat, dairy products, vegetables, and eggs. “We’re working on this to make it available and we request people to bear for another three days to make it available,” Lyonpo said. “We’re also working to ensure continuous supply of vegetables.”

 

Stranded people in different dzongkhags

Five days into lockdown, National Covid-19 Taskforce has decided to allow stranded people to travel back to their destination from Thimphu most likely from today.

Lyonpo Dr Tandi Dorji, who is also a member of taskforce, said that those stranded would be tested and allowed to leave upon testing negative. “But we urge people to stay where they are. Since it’s already five days Thimphu was under lockdown, we expect to complete the mass screening, we’ll send stranded people slowly.”

However, with only two days since other dzongkhags were put under the lockdown those stranded in the other dzongkhags are urged to wait for about three days before each dzongkhag completes contact tracing.

This does not apply to those travelling from South who were in the seven-day quarantine before lockdown. “They would be tested and send to their respective dzongkhags after completing the quarantine.”

 

Funeral

Lyonpo said that to avoid crowds at the cremation ground in Thimphu, the taskforce has decided not to let people from other dzongkhags come to Thimphu for cremation.

“People must cremate in the respective dzongkhags,” lyonpo said. “We’ve decided to allow cremation of only three bodies in a day.”

It is also decided that not more than 10 members from each family would be allowed at the cremation.

Bhutan Red Cross Society has volunteered to help people in any cremation related issue.

“We’ve briefed them and they have volunteered to help people. We request people to cooperate with them,” Lyonpo said.

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