Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Just a day after Gomtu was given some relaxation, the small town reported 25 Covid-19 positive cases yesterday. All cases were reported from a red cluster, Penden Cement Authority Limited’s (PCAL) Shanti Colony.

A 25-year-old driver from Shanti Colony had also allegedly sneaked away on July 5.

Samtse Dzongdag Pasang Dorji, who is the dzongkhag task force incident commander, said the man was arrested yesterday.

“We have put him into a quarantine facility.”

He said there was nothing to worry about Shanti Colony positive cases, as all the cases were from cluster and have been isolated.

“It would have been a different story had it been a sporadic transmission.”

According to sources, Gomtu is also facing the problem of not having enough facilities for quarantine and isolation in the hospital.

Dzongdag Pasang Dorji said everyone knows Gomtu doesn’t have hotels and guest houses.

“The only facilities are PCAL and Lhaki Cement guest houses. These facilities get fully occupied.”

He said when they say it is occupied, people tend to think as if the numbers are in the 1,000s. “But it is not. It is a small place.”

He said until now they have managed with private places and empty staff industrial quarters.   

A 12-unit temporary facility with attached toilets has also been constructed.

It was learned positive patients in Titi village are quarantined within the village

In Gomtu BHU-I, there are only two isolation rooms.

“So normally we don’t isolate people in the hospital. It is risky,” dzongdag Pasang Dorji said. “Isolation is just for one to two hours before they are taken to separate isolation wards.”

Including the 25 cases from Gomtu, 30 positive cases were reported in Samtse yesterday, of which two are students from Samtse town. 

It was learned 35 students are identified as primary contacts of the two students who tested positive.

According to the incident commander, they will do cluster testing based on the primary contacts.

“Then, we will continue with three days, seven days and 14 days testing.”

He said high-risk people will be taken to quarantine facilities.

Samtse town and Samtse gewog went under 72 hours lockdown on July 5 after a positive case was detected from the community during a routine surveillance.

Contact tracings are ongoing.

Edited by Tashi Dema