Between September 17 and 19, movement of private vehicles will be allowed and all government offices will be allowed to open

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Lockdown relaxation in the red zone town of Phuentsholing started from eight in the morning yesterday.

The lockdown will be relaxed in five phases.

Starting yesterday, until tomorrow, a resident from each household has been allowed movement using the movement permit, in the respective zones in the specific given time, according to the Southern Covid-19 Task Force (SC19TF) in Phuentsholing.

Between September 11 and September 13, families will be allowed to move, without movement permit across the zones. Designated shops and restaurants (for takeaways only) will also be allowed during this time. Hardware shops and automobile workshops, including the earlier identified essential shops will also be opened.

However, movement of public transport will become possible between September 14 and September 16.

People will be allowed to move within the thromde and public transports such as buses and taxis will be allowed to operate at half the carrying capacity. Movements are limited to essential ones.

However, no public gatherings or outdoor activities like picnics, hiking, or visiting spiritual sites are allowed.

Meanwhile, during the third phase, shops that cater to electronics services, printing and furniture will also be allowed to operate. Those with higher risks such as barber shops and salons, non-essential shops such as garments and footwear shops will not be allowed.

During the fourth phase, which starts from September 17 until September 19, movement of private vehicles will be allowed. All government offices will also be opened during this time.

From September 20, all inter-district movements will be allowed with prior registration. Registration portals, which have been created will be announced soon.

It will include online registration, help-line calls and physical registration at identified offices or nearest check posts as people travel.

Meanwhile, several people moved out with permits yesterday, the first day of easing the lockdown.

A resident in the town, Kelzang Thinley said it was entirely a different experience to see the town and around after a month.

“I feel refreshed and healthy. Everything looks green, clean and fresh,” he said.

Although he was nervous to go out, Kelzang Thinley said that the transmission of virus could be avoided with proper measures. Using the facemask, sanitisers and physical distancing is the need of the hour, he added.

Another resident, Uraj Gurung, 30 said that lockdown had completely changed his life.

“At first I panicked thinking about food supplies but eventually the government arranged ways to deliver food at our doorsteps,” he said.

“I am enjoying my lockdown in relaxation. But people cannot stay home for too long.”

Now that lockdown will be eased and people allowed to move, Uraj Gurung said it was time to seriously follow the safety protocols.

“It is also time to get back to work keeping in mind proper protocols. If people followed the protocol, there will never be another transmission,” he said.

In its letter to the SC19TF in Phuentsholing, the National Covid-19 Task Force (NC19TF) has also highlighted that some of the DANTAK officials were in the quarantine for more than 30 days and should be allowed to travel as per the quarantine and testing protocol.

“This will apply as a general rule to all people completing quarantine,” the letter stated.