Government and the committee on the same page on lockdown 

MB Subba

The joint Parliamentary committee formed to advise the government on the Covid-19 pandemic has said  drastic measure like a comple lockdown is not required.

The committee met on March 26 to discuss whether or not the situation called for a complete lockdown.

The committee recommended the government to continue with the same step-by-step approach instead of going for immediate lockdown.

The committee recommended the government to carry out the profiling of residents in every building or household if such an exercise is not done yet.

“There is a growing pressure through social media for the country to go for a lockdown especially following the steps of India and the emergence of another positive case,” the committee stated.

The recommendation has been submitted to the government.

The committee’s chairman, Member of Parliament Dorji Wangdi said that the government and the committee were on the same page on lockdown as the country did not have any confirmed case of (intra) community transmission yet.

However, the committee stresses the need to take the maximum precautions to prevent the spread of the virus in the country. The committee members are of the view that an outbreak of the Covid-19 would overwhelm the country’s health system.

As per the national preparedness and response plan for the outbreak of Covid-19, the country will be in the “red zone” if multiple cases are detected with local transmission.

Declaration of the red zone will lead to major disruptions, including lockdown of all the affected places, according to the preparedness and response plan. The situation now is in the orange zone.

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said at the recent meet the press that he was hoping and working to prevent a lockdown. The government says that a lockdown will be imposed only if there is multiple community transmission.

People are divided on the issue.

Many netizens have called for a complete lockdown. One of them said without a lockdown, there should be strict enforcement of regulations in place.

“The new rules for public transport are a good measure,” he said in reference to the government’s decision to reduce the passenger capacity by a half.

He also said that it is important to issue an advisory on do’s and don’ts for business operators (small shops, restaurants, open market places, wholesale shops, home deliveries, fuel and gas depots, etc.),” he wrote on Facebook.

However, another social media user wrote a lockdown was not required. He was of the view that there weren’t many Covid-19 cases that could not be handled and that the government was doing everything to prevent the lockdown.