Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

An increasing number of frontline workers is testing positive for the Covid-19 in Phuentsholing. As of January 27 this year, 53 frontline workers have tested positive.

Frontline workers include de-suups, RBP and RBA personnel.

Of the 53 positive frontline workers, 25 are de-suups, and 16 are RBP personnel.

With the high rate of new cases, residents are raising concerns if the bordering town will see relaxations any time soon. However, it is only evident that the places where frontline workers work are prone to infection.

A Southern Covid-19 Task Force (SC-19TF), Rixin Jamtsho said frontline workers are high-risk groups and often get exposed to the virus due to the nature of their work.

“At times, frontline workers at the entry and exit gate also have to communicate with foreign drivers,” he said, adding that the export and import are happening every day.

“There are risks for them of coming into contact with drivers unknowingly.”

Many frontline workers are also deployed in quarantine facilities and containment centres, from where many positive cases have been reported.

Rixin Jamtsho said most of the quarantine facilities are now filled with primary contacts due to which there is a high risk for the frontline workers.

“Therefore, it is crucial for the frontline workers to get tested regularly to ensure early detection of Covid-19,” he said.

Meanwhile, starting from January 14 until yesterday, Phuentsholing has seen positive cases from the community without a break. As of yesterday, as per the National Situational Update on Covid-19, the town saw a total of 134 positive cases from the community.


Amochhu temporary settlement

Concerns are also raised amidst an increasing number of cases from the Amochhu Temporary Shelter, where so far, 26 people have tested positive. More than 900 families live in this temporary settlement.

Rixin Jamtsho said symptomatic patients in the settlement are tested onsite through a mobile flu clinic and essential health services are delivered by a mobile medical team.

“We are also listing the elderly people, those with comorbidities, unvaccinated individuals and children below 18 years to analyse the risk,” he said.

The whole colony is under strict vigilance, no movement of people from one block to the other is allowed. The colony is functioning like a containment centre mode.

“We are taking special care of vulnerable groups like people with comorbidities, senior citizens, children, etc.”


Lockdown future

Rixin Jamtsho said the future of lockdown relaxation or further lockdowns depends on the daily case detection and public compliance on Covid-19 safety protocols.

“Community case detection has slightly declined this week but it is still sporadic.”

“We are planning for a phase-wise relaxation but we are not really sure if we can implement our plan. We would like to urge the general public to comply with safety protocols to enable us to plan for the relaxation. We should not move out of home unnecessarily if not urgently and everyone should avoid crowded places.”

Phuentsholing has been under lockdown with intra-zone movements allowed since January 15.