Mass screening to determine status of yellow zones in Haa

Phub Dem 

If no new cases are detected from the mass testing in Haa, the dzongkhag Covid-19 taskforce will turn the four yellow clusters to green zones declaring the dzongkhag safe from the virus.

The four yellow clusters are Tsilungkha and Beltso village of Uesu gewog, Karjena and Nagtsho villages of Katsho gewog and Haa throm.

The areas were declared yellow zones after a student tested positive for infection on December 25 last year.

One member from each household in the yellow clusters and all the boarding students of Gongzim Ugyen Dorji school were tested.

The health team collected 795 RT-PCR samples from the green zones and were sent to the Royal Centre for Disease Controls in Thimphu on Tuesday.

Haa health officer Samten said that the dzongkhag carried out 1,800 tests as per the health ministry’s instruction.

He said that those residing in green zones underwent rapid tests that are selected based on random sampling, and it covered every nook and corner of the dzongkhag.

For instance, a separate health team was sent to Sektena in Gakiling gewog,  one of the remote villages in the dzongkhag, to collect 20 samples.

Haa Dzongdag Kinzang Dorji said that the task force would ease the restriction after the mass screening.

He said that the residents had been cooperative and never complained about the restriction on movements. However, he said that the people were worried about people coming from Paro and Thimphu.

The dzongkhag administration received calls from the local residents raising concerns about those coming from other dzongkhags in their locality, he said.

According to the dzongdag, the dzongkhag officials advocated people regarding the strict protocols before entering the dzongkhag and asked them not to look down on incoming travellers.

He said that if the results were clear, the dzongkhag administration’s responsibility would be to closely monitor the people coming from other dzongkhags. “By today the task force will have the result in hand and will decide accordingly.”

The dzongkhag has sufficient essential items in stock, and two southern gewogs had been supplying vegetables to other gewogs.

Kinzang Dorji said that in a few weeks the winter vegetable from Sombaykha and Gakiling would be available in nearby dzongkhags. “We are also supplying excess livestock products to Bhutan Livestock Development Cooperation.”

Unlike the first lockdown, the local government played an essential role in addressing and helping the locals. This, according to dzongdag, empowered the local leaders to address the issues as they understand the locality better.

“Local government has been proactive during the lockdown. The dzongkhag administration only provided backup,” he said.

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