Many across the country turned up at the flu clinics and health centres to test for Covid-19 yesterday. They had travelled to various parts of the country between December 7 and 20.
The health ministry’s estimate shows that 38,000 had moved from Thimphu to all over the country in that period. The queues grew longer after more positive cases were reported yesterday.
The health ministry declared that samples from contacts of the 25-year-old woman tested positive earlier that day.
The respective dzongkhag Covid-19 taskforces issued public notifications restricting all activities, including sports, that required people to gather and urged residents to adhere to Covid-19 safety protocols.
Haa and Paro
With the increasing cases of Covid-19 in Thimphu, Haa dzongkhag suspended the annual Rangtse Tshechu which was scheduled on December 23.
According to Dzongkhag Health Officer Samten said that the dzongkhag suspended the matches until further notice. He said that people should seek approval from dzongkhag for any significant events.
As it is loche (annual ritual) season in both Haa and Paro, dzongkhag administrations asked to engage minimum people. The dzongkhags also temporarily suspended games and sports.
Close contact of the index case in Haa tested negative. The health team of Haa conducted rapid testing on 450 people who had a travel history to Thimphu. All came negative.
Most of the people who visited Thimphu were students as they were on lomba holiday. Officials said that more than 1,600 people visited the Haa, but the majority returned after the lomba was over.
The dzongkhag has plans to test the family members of those who visited Haa during lomba and returned to Thimphu.
Besides, it was found out that people who came to visit Rangtse Nye from Thimphu mingled with about 40 people from Haa.
DHO Samten said that the health team would test those people who visited Rangtse Nye as the visitors remained in a closed room together for some time.
The task force has asked the local leaders to inform people to register for a test if they were exposed to visitors from Thimphu.
Although the Check Post Management System (CPMS) was efficient in tracing people who visited the dzongkhag, Samten said that it would be convenient if the system provides the details of dzongkhags separately.
He said that as per the CPMS, more than 4,000 visited Haa from different dzongkhags. “It was hectic to sort out people coming from Thimphu separately.”
In the meantime, Paro recorded more than 16,000 people who came from Thimphu between December 7 and 20. The health team conducted 1,265 rapid antigen tests as of yesterday. The testing will continue today.
The Paro dzongkhag taskforce issued a notification to stop sports and entertainment events, flu vaccination, reduce travel, and to use fewer monks for religious ceremonies.
Pemagatshel and Samdrupjongkhar
About 211 people in Pemagatshel tested negative on the antigen test. Of 161 samples, 45 samples were sent to Dewathang for RT-PCR test and rest would be sent today.
Of the 50 samples collected in Nganglam drungkhag, 18 tested negative on both the antigen and RT-PCR test, while the rest tested negative on the antigen test.
Health officials in Samdrupjongkhar sent 110 samples to Dewathang for RT-PCR test yesterday. They tested negative for the antigen test. The officials collected the samples from those who had come to Samdrupjongkhar between December 7 and December 19.
Of the 110 samples, 21 were from Samdrupjongkhar thromde and 16 from Gomdar gewog while 26 samples were collected in Samdrupcholing drungkhag.
Officials collected about 18 samples in Jomotshangkha drungkhag and 29 samples at Dewathang. Officials said that more samples would be collected as the contact tracing and testing are still going on.
Trashigang and Trashiyangtse
Trashigang health personnel collected 479 samples for rapid antigen tests in six different flu clinics in Trashigang. All tested negative.
Trashigang Health Officer, Gang Dorji said they are still finding out how many more visited the dzongkhag after December 7. “We will continue to test them and will send samples for RT-PCR test.”
All Trashigang bound vehicles from Thimphu were escorted from Chagzam to Trashigang hospital for the test of Covid 19.
In Trashiyangtse, a total of 136 travellers, who sat for the rapid antigen tests, tested negative.
Ten primary contacts of the index case who arrived in Trongsa on December 19 were placed under facility quarantine. They will be tested after five days.
It was learnt that the two men halt the night at the telecom office premises and did not have close contact with any officials. However, the area is sanitised to reopen from tomorrow.
The load they brought is also sanitised and after a few days it will be delivered to Trashigang in another vehicle.
The annual Trongsa tshechu which is scheduled on December 23-25 has been postponed due to Covid-19 risks.
Lam Neten Kencho Tshering said that dratshang will perform kurim for three days and the tshechu will be organised with the lhamoi drubchen in February.
The primary contact of a Covid-19 positive case who had travelled to Bubja and Eusa on December 19 in Trongsa tested positive on RT-PCR test.
Subsequently, the Covid-19 taskforce placed Eusa, Bubja, Tashidenka and Taktse villages of Dragteng gewog under strict surveillance from yesterday. Restrictions on movement and all kinds of sports and celebrations were put in place. However, there will not be movement restriction for vehicles plying on the highway.
People of these communities have been asked to not visit health centres unnecessarily.
Meanwhile, as of yesterday, 386 commuters from Thimphu registered and 77 people will have to stay in home quarantine as they reached after December 19.
Health staff tested 129 travelling from Thimphu on rapid antigen test in Trongsa and Dangdung flu clinic.
According to the Covid-19 taskforce officials, people are asked to remain vigilant and use face mask, wash hands and stay home unless there is an emergency.
Tsirang and Dagana
Officials tested 358 individuals who had entered Tsirang from Thimphu since December 7 on rapid antigen test yesterday.
In Dagana, of the 398 samples collected yesterday, two were sent for RT-PCR test in Thimphu and Phuentsholing. About 134 people were tested on rapid antigen test on December 20. The health officials said that the tests will continue today.
Meanwhile, Tsirang and Dagana have 965 and 562 inbound travellers respectively from Thimphu since December 7.
Wangdue and Punakha
The two positive cases detected yesterday from Toepisa gewog in Punakha were sent for isolation in Thimphu.
According to sources, the two individuals were parents of the 25-year-old woman who tested positive on December 19. The following day, Punakha health officials sent 37 samples of the villagers particularly from Phenteykha village in Toepisa gewog to Thimphu for tests.
“Police personnel have been deployed to ensure that there is no movement in the village,” a local government official said.
Today, nine individuals who came in contact with the index case and the primary contacts have been quarantined.
Health officials sent more than 22 samples to Thimphu yesterday. Until late yesterday, samples from Thinleygang were also being collected.
At the flu clinic set up at Punakha hospital, 294 individuals with travel history to Thimphu came for the rapid Covid-19 test.
A health official said that many were sent back after registration. Punakha hospital officials will look into setting up additional flu clinics if required after the contract tracing and sample collection in Thinleygang.
In Wangdue, hundreds rushed to the flu clinic set up near the old Bajo hospital (near Bajo town). Due to overcrowding, the gates to the clinic were closed by 1pm.
The two flu clinics at old Bajo hospital and Tencholing flu clinics, and the emergency ward tested 753 individuals.
Flu clinics at old Bajo hospital area tested 610 persons. Testing began around 9am yesterday. The health officials said they will try and begin services by 8am today.
Meanwhile, all three primary contacts and 13 secondary contacts of the 25-year-old woman traced from Wangdue, have tested negative on RT-PCR.
Today, six individuals have who came in contact with one of the primary contacts on his journey to Trongsa have been quarantined.
Forty-eight individuals with travel history to Thimphu came for the rapid test at the flu clinic in Gasa. Health officials also visited the Gasa Tshachu area and Khamoed gewog to conduct additional testing. At the tshachu, 24 individuals were tested and another 13 were tested in Khamoed gewog.
On December 20, 43 individuals with travel history to Thimphu were tested, and were declared negative.
As of yesterday evening, the Phuentsholing flu clinic tested 231 people, all Thimphu returnees, on antigen (RDT) and all tested negative. Their RT-PCR results are expected today.
Meanwhile, the lockdown in Thimphu has not changed anything in the bordering town of Phuentsholing.
There was no panic buying among the residents. The town was as calm and business was as usual. Although hand-washing still isn’t popular in certain pockets of the town, residents have become extremely cautious about wearing masks.
In the past three months, nearly 3,500 people have moved towards the capital and beyond.
Meanwhile, vehicles carrying the essential goods are still allowed to travel from Phuentsholing.
The eastern Covid-19 lab in Mongar hospital tested 284 people on rapid diagnostic antigen and 252 RT-PCR tests including the samples from health centres in Mongar, Lhuentse and Nganglam as of yesterday. All tested negative.