Thukten Zangpo

Two weeks should be more than enough to lift the lockdown if everyone follows the lockdown norms very strictly, said Prime Minister Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering yesterday.

However, he added that all people have to be compliant and agree not to mix during a lockdown.

Bhutan’s lockdown indication is the elimination of the Omicron and not flattening the curve which would take a little longer, Lyonchhen said.

However, Lyonchhen said: “Two weeks is the longest incubation period of the Covid-19 (Omicron) and, beyond that, a positive person is either non-positive or non-infectious. Mass testing is a must at the end of lockdown.”

Because of that, he said, Thimphu and Paro dzongkhags were arbitrarily kept for another two weeks until January 30.

“Even if we have missed some from the screening process, they would be non-infectious,” he said.

Lyonchhen said that by epidemiological definition, if we have no community case for two weeks at the end of lockdown,  there is no real need to swipe the community.

It is assumed that no symptomatic person has come forward to get tested and nobody has tested positive, he added.

Lyonchhen also said that the health ministry would test Bhutanese who did not come for the test and have stayed at home despite bearing the symptoms.

However, Lyonchhen said that if there are positive cases or active cases beyond two weeks, then people have not followed the lockdown norms strictly.

He also said that Omicron being more infectious than Delta, it is easier to pick up from the community.

Lyonchhen said that the switch in the colour coding of red where there are positive cases, yellow where there are traced primary contacts, and green which is free of the virus will be guided by the case profile and surveillance.