Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Starting today, one person from one household who is vaccinated, will be allowed to come out with movement card to buy essentials within the sub-zones.

This is for Mega Zone 1 and 2.

Relaxations for Mega Zone 3, which covers Pasakha, Ahlay, and Pekarzhing started on July 23.

Identified shops will also open from 8am to 6pm. 

Import and export will also resume.

Travel will be facilitated as per the existing protocols.

The first week of relaxation in Mega Zone 1 and 2 will conclude on August 2.

Meanwhile, Phuentsholing residents are expecting completion of second dose of vaccination to bring the relief from more than 100 days.

They are also equally aware of the situation and strongly believe in carefulness.

A businessman, Karma Tshering Dorji, said people must adhere to the three most important protocol rules.

“We have to wear mask. We have to maintain physical distance and avoid crowding. We need to wash our hands always,” he said. “Just because we are vaccinated, we cannot get complacent.”

If not urgent or necessary, he said people must stay in their homes and avoid coming out.

Karma Tshering Dorji also said there was a need for extra caution in the integrated vegetable market as it is a crowded place. 

“Let vegetables be available in other shops as well, until the outbreak is completely under control.”

Phuentsholing will see more relaxations from August 3 to 9. During this period, residents can move within their sub-zones on foot. All shops will be allowed to open from 8am to 7pm. Restaurants will be allowed to operate for just take away orders.

The integrated vegetable complex will be allowed to operate in 50 percent capacity.

Construction activities and operation of industries will be carried out in self-containment mode.

Schools and colleges will remain shut, except for those operating in self-containment mode and approved by the Southern Covid-19 Task Force (SC19TF).

Offices, including financial institutions will remain closed.

Funeral rites will be restricted to family members and relatives up to maximum of 15 individuals.

Another resident, Namgay Wangchuk, said his confidence has returned after the second jab. “Relaxation is indeed high time and good move from the SC19TF. We should not let our guards down. Relaxation is done not because Phuentsholing is virus free but due to prolonged lockdown and immense pressure from people. People should remember the King’s recent address.”

He said everything is in people’s hands now—whether to welcome another lockdown or be cautious, responsible and do what is really needful.

Another resident, Kamal, said more relaxations must be given since the second dose of vaccination is finished.

“It would be good to have movement within Mega Zones like last time, after the first phase of relaxation,” he said.“But the red buildings should be monitored.”

The next phase of unlocking from August 10 will be announced later.

SC19TF urged people to exercise maximum caution and religiously observe Covid-19 health safety protocols at all times.

The fourth complete lockdown in Phuentsholing started on July 9 which was supposed to complete in two weeks’ time. However, the second round of vaccination started and the lockdown continued.

Phuentsholing went into the third lockdown from April 17 this year.

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk