However, TAG team says there is no breach of quarantine protocol  

Dechen Dolkar 

In a week, three police personnel and three de-suups tested positive to Covid-19 recently while on quarantine centre duty at Rurichhu in Wangdue.

Similarly, in Samdrupjongkhar a hotel cook, two de-suups, a policeman, and two loaders tested positive to the virus. The cook and a de-suup tested positive from a quarantine facility and the loaders were from a containment centre. The policeman and a de-suup were stationed at an outpost near the containment centre.

While many questioned how the front line workers tested positive despite the strict protocols in place.

According to the quarantine management unit at the Prime Minister Office (PMO) the responsible and accountable agencies for quarantine management are police assisted by the de-suung office. They are tasked to ensure that there is no breach during escort of quarantine individuals (QIs) to quarantine facilities (QFs) and no breach in protocols.

Wangdue Phodrang dzongdag, Sonam Jamtsho said that the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) team has inspected the quarantine site when the first 66 cases tested positive. “They found out there was no breach in quarantine protocol,” the Dzongdag said.

He said that the quarantine centre is isolated and located in the forest away from the human settlement.

He said that the quarantine centre has the Punatsangchhu on one side and is fenced with electric wire.

Of the 107 expatriate workers brought in for the Punatsangchhu Hydroelectric Project II (PII), 66 tested positive on January 8.

Sonam Jamtsho said that so far 102 of them have tested positive.

“The project constructed the temporary structure for the quarantine. The TAG team approved the structure for quarantine.”

He said that frontline workers might have tested positive because of the intensity of the virus and the whole atmosphere could have been infected with the virus.

He said that there was no contact between the frontline workers and the positive patients.

“There were three police personnel and four de-suups on duty. All three police personnel tested positive and three de-suups tested positive. However, all of them were taken to isolation in Thimphu,” the Dzongda said.

He said from yesterday, a new team of frontliners was deployed in the quarantine. “Now they are placed outside the structure for monitoring.”

He also said that they were also doing round the clock monitoring from the highway which is away from the centre. There are also three layers of surveillance in the centre.

Samdrupjongkhar Dzongdag Tharchin Lhendup said that they might have tested positive because in the quarantine centre all of them are expatriate workers and most tested positive.

“The investigation on how they tested positive is underway,” he said.

A member of TAG, Dr Tshokey said that it was very difficult to say whether there was a breach of quarantine protocol since the risk of contracting the virus is high.

“Everyone is working for the best and it is very difficult to blame them and prove,” he said.

However, he said that it was a lesson for everyone not to be complacent and strictly adhere to the protocols.

Another member of TAG, Dr Sonam Wangchuk said that they always advise people to open the windows while in quarantine. “They need good ventilation.”

However, most of the people complain that they are not allowed to open the windows in quarantine.

He said that de-suups might have been infected when they go to drop food and stuff to the room. When the room is opened all the aerosol pressures come out from the door.

In quarantine, if they follow all the prescribed procedures it would reduce the risks but there is some chance of getting the virus.