Phub Dem

When the news of the first confirmed positive case of COVID-19 in the country broke out, residents in Haa town rushed to grocery stores and fuel depots to stock up. Today, the town has returned to normalcy.

Haa Dzongdag Kinzang Dorji said that because Haa was a small district with a population of only 13,655 it was convenient to monitor.

Dzongkhag officials went around and explained to both customers and sellers alike not to hoard or increase the prices for goods and services, dzongdag said.

“After meeting with a crowd of people at BOD depot, I explained about the confirmation of continued supply as notified by the department of trade,” Kinzang Dorji said.

The positive case of COVID-19, according to some residents of Haa became the topic of discussion in the villages.

Tobgay, 56, said that there was no other discussion apart from the virus, which includes his constant chats on WeChat. He said that although there were many videos and talks shared in WeChat, he said he would wait for BBS news every night.

Dzongdag said that the steering committee of Haa dzongkhag conducted a consultative meeting on COVID-19 prevention plan.

The committee consists of officials from regional offices and sector heads, Royal Bhutan Army, Royal Bhutan Police, IMTRAT representative, school principals, gups, Desuups, representatives from Red Cross Society, Dratshang, and business representatives.

He said that hotel owners agreed to provide quarantine space in case of an emergency.

According to the senior district health officer of Haa, Samten, all health workers were trained on COVID-19 guideline, management and standard operating procedures.

Besides three rapid response teams were formed. It states that the officials were carrying out awareness and sensitisation in communities, schools, and institutions.

Samten said that three flu clinics were set up at Haa hospital, RBA Damthang and IMTRAT hospital. And an isolation ward was identified in Haa hospital.

“The dzongkhag identified a traditional medical unit in Bali as a quarantine centre,” he said.

Often described as a remote dzongkhag, Haa has major entry routes including Chelela pass, Haa welcome gate, Gakiling entry for those coming from Samtse and Damthang RBA gate for travellers from Tibet border.

However, Samten said that the dzongkhag was ready to set up entry point screening if the health ministry directs.

He added that the health officials were planning to distribute hand sanitizer to schools with support from dzongkhag.

The dzongdag said that Haa was prepared.