Yeshey Lhadon

If you are planning to visit the national referral hospital or the Centenary Farmers’ Market in Thimphu today, make sure you wear a mask.

Without face masks, security and volunteers at these public places will not allow entry. And if you cannot afford one, the health ministry will provide masks.

In their effort to prevent a community transmission, the health ministry is pleading with people to wear face masks.

At a press conference yesterday, Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo said that forest, police, army, land commission, DeSuups and other officials are drenching in the rain, sweating in the scorching sun, being feasted by leeches and mosquitoes in the southern borders for our wellbeing.  “Wearing mask is the easiest thing we can do for ourselves,” she said.

Face mask is mandatory if you are commuting by public transport.

Meanwhile, the farmers’ market is strictly being monitored since July 1. DeSuups have familiarised visitors on wearing masks for four days. Over 50 DeSuups and some scouts are voluntarily helping with the necessary implementation on the new norm.

It has been challenging for volunteers to monitor people visiting CMF. Druk Trace app showed that 1,460,000 entered CMF in the last four months. 72,232 people entered after registering in June alone. On Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, more than 6,000 people visit CFM. The least was 2,000 people when the weather is bad.

DeSuups guarding the entry points said when they are busy with a large number of people, few people without masks sneak in. Tashi Wangdi, a DeSuup said, “We turn away people without masks at the entry gate. Our mobilizing team keeps an eye on vendors and visitors.”

DeSuup coordinator at CMF, Kinga said that vendors refusing to wear masks after repeated requests will be dealt as per the order. “We might have to seize their counter,”he said.