Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Much to the surprise of residents, mass testing on February 15-16 in Phuentsholing detected 103 Omicron cases from the community.

The mass testing collected 2,184 samples from four areas, including peri-urban areas. 

Phuentsholing residents have pinned their hopes on the ongoing mass testing as phase-wise relaxations are expected to begin after the tests.

Just as the news of the positive cases was made public yesterday, residents went berserk.

A businessman, Namgay attributed the large number of positive cases in Phuentsholing to the delay in mass testing. 

“And in between, shops were opened without mass testing and people were allowed to move with movement cards.”

“If authorities had followed the same system applied in Thimphu, we would have a lesser number of cases.”

Another resident and a private employee, Melam, said the result was unexpected.

“I saw one who never went out of the apartment was also infected with Omicron,” he said.

Residents said that the daily wage earners and small businesses are having a tough time sustaining themselves due to frequent blackouts and lockdowns.

The mass testing result showed that most of the cases are from the rural areas.

A member from the Southern Covid-19 Task Force (SC-19TF), Rixin Jamtsho said it was “very difficult” to monitor the rural areas on safety measure compliance.

“Home quarantine and isolation have been advised. However, those with comorbidities and those willing to come are taken to isolation,” he said.

It will be known today as to how many are actually brought to isolation facilities and those kept at home. The mass testing in Phuentsholing will conclude tomorrow.

A total of 124 positive cases were detected yesterday in Phuentsholing—out of which 105 were community cases.