Chimi Dema | Gelephu 

Vehicles ferrying food and other essential items to Gelephu are allowed movement from across the borders despite the 21-day lockdown in India.

As of March 25, a truck carrying Liquid Petroleum Gas and six fuel tankers were allowed movement after about a three-hour stop in Assam.

Four trucks were allowed to transport food stocks from India.

Officials with Bhutan Oil Distributors said that they had been at the Gelephu-Datgari checkpoint since 9am on March 25.

“But we had to wait until noon due to movement restriction,” an official said.

The movements of authorised vehicles continued without interruption as of yesterday.

At the border gate, officials and volunteers on duty disinfect vehicles and screen drivers.

As a Covid-19 preventive measure, drivers cannot come out of the vehicle while unloading goods.

No Bhutanese from across the borders had entered the country since March 25.

Meanwhile, Sarpang has so far quarantined 183 people including 65 at home. Majority of them are students who have returned from colleges in India.

Many of those quarantined at home have returned even before the move came into effect, said Sarpang Dzongdag Karma Galay. “They were advised to comply with the standard operating procedure of quarantine.”

To ensure strict compliance, health workers and police personnel make timely visit.

Dzongdag Karma Galay said that 16 hoteliers volunteered to offer their facilities as quarantine centres.

Only four hotels were used for as of now, he said.

The hotels are giving all rooms for free but a minimal charge of Nu 350 for three meals per person per day.

Dzongdag said that the response plans were being discussed to enhance surveillance, tighten border control, and to strengthen preventive and response measures.

Security personnel are being deployed at all the entry points to ensure effective surveillance.