KP Sharma 

With the spike in the number of Covid-19 cases in neighbouring countries, the Ministry of Health has advised the government and the public to step up safety measures.

According to World Health (WHO), the latest variant BF.7, a sub-variant of Omicorn, is the fastest spreading variant.

BF.7 has been detected in Indian states, especially in Gujarat and Odisha. The risk of the virus entering Bhutan is high.

Ministry of Health in its notification said that Ministry is “continuously monitoring the trends of COVID-19 at all the major points of Entry.”

There are around six entry points in the country: Paro International Airport, Phuentsholing, Gelephu, Samdrupjongkhar, Samtse, and Nganglam in Pemagatsel.

As per the Ministry, routine Covid-19 integrated influenza surveillance systems are in place to monitor the virus in all these entry points.

The health workers have been alerted and the ministry has enhanced random testing of travellers and foreign workers at the entry points.

Based on the recommendation of the National Covid-19 Task Force meeting on December 23, the ministry is encouraging people to continue to wear face mask. “Face mask will be mandatory while visiting health facilities, during mass gatherings, and for those with flu like systems.”

Residents in Thimphu say that maintaining hand hygiene, physical distance and use of face mask must return.

People also raised concerns about gathering during celebrations.

Health Minister Dechen Wangmo, through her Facebook account, urged people to use public health tools available, including vaccination.

The ministry encourages people travelling abroad on pilgrimage and other purposes to get fully vaccinated and follow all the precautions.