Driver switching protocol also lifted

Nima Wangdi 

With the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) announcing phase-wise relaxation on the travel restriction in the country on March 26, the system of switching drivers ferrying goods at various points of routes has been lifted from today.

Drivers switch at Sorchen in Chhukha, Darachu in Tsirang, Tshobaley in Nganglam, Tshelingkhor in Samdrupjongkhar, and Tamala in Zhemgang.

According to the press release PMO issued, drivers ferrying goods will also not have to undergo quarantine, but must have antigen negative results valid for two weeks.

However, people travelling from high risk to low-risk areas will have to continue with the one-week home quarantine.

The notification stated that the requirement could also be relooked into based on the disease pattern.

Inter-dzongkhag dead body transfer will also be allowed and 40 family members can attend cremation.

“Workshops and seminars should be conducted virtually while public transport services must resume its routine schedule,” the press release stated.

It also stated that working in containment in factories and industries can also be withdrawn unless the companies feel it is necessary.

For the incoming international travellers, the quarantine will be reduced to five days starting April 4. “The testing pattern will also be changed accordingly.”

Any vulnerable individual may seek for the reverse isolation facility.

In Thimphu, people can travel beyond mega zones and all the offices can open from today.   

However, the people with comorbidities and health conditions, nursing mothers, mothers and single fathers having unvaccinated children who are four years and below may be given the option to work from home.

The press release stated that both indoor and outdoor sports will be allowed but without spectators. “Tournaments are not allowed and people with symptoms are discouraged from taking part. For khuru and archery games, the maximum players per match must be maintained at 10.”


Reopening of schools

Starting April 4, schools for classes VII, VIII, IX and XII will be open as the first phase.

The press release stated that while the schools will not have to function in containment mode, Covid-19 norms must be ensured. “All colleges and institutions will also open on this day or sooner depending on the time required for preparations.”

While classes PP to VI will open from April 18, unvaccinated children, daycare and ECCDs will have to wait for 10 more days to resume.

Meanwhile, the press release also cautioned that the Omicron is milder compared to the previous variants but it still causes serious illness among the unvaccinated people. “Children above five years and people, who are still unvaccinated, are urged to take the vaccine at the earliest.”

People are reminded to avoid unnecessary mass gatherings, continue to use facemasks and wash hands frequently. “People are also urged to get tested in case of flu-like symptoms.”

The press release stated that this relaxation has been initiated since the severity and hospitalisation have been negligible since the last phase of relaxation on March 19.