Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

The second phase of relaxation in Phuentsholing began yesterday. However, only a few residents were seen on the streets.

As per the Southern Covid-19 Task Force (SC-19TF) announcement on February 19, the second phase allowed movement of people within their own mega zones on foot without having to carry movement cards anytime between 6am and 6pm. There are three zones in Phuentsholing and the core town falls under Mega Zone-II.

A shopkeeper from the lower market, Kelzang Thinley said there were not many people in the town yesterday.

“This is because zone to zone movement is not allowed at this moment,” he said. “Shopkeepers came, cleaned their shops and returned home. Most wanted to open tomorrow.”

Kelzang said that he also cleaned his shop and disposed of expired goods from his shop. There were no customers.

The second phase relaxation also allowed all other business establishments, including the grocery shops and micro-traders to operate after obtaining a negative RT-PCR test result. Restaurants, cafes, bars and bakeries were also allowed to operate on “a take away’ basis only.” 

A garment seller, Biswadeep said not many came to open shops in the town because they were in other mega zones.

“In my area, there were just two of us,” he said, adding that many might also have tested positive and were stuck in the red buildings.

As of yesterday, Phuentsholing had recorded 350 red buildings. Many are allowed to stay under home-quarantine. Unlike in the past, when the entire building was marked as “red” after a family in an apartment got infected, people from other apartments are allowed to move this time. The infected apartment, however, was sealed.

A resident, Phub Tshering said: “The relaxation is a positive way of stepping forward.”

Meanwhile, the positive cases emerging from the community are also decreasing in Phuentsholing. The town saw 27 community cases yesterday, 70 contacts, five domestic travelers and two imported. On February 23, the town recorded 18 community cases, 47 contacts, and one domestic traveler.

The second phase relaxation will continue until February 27 and further decisions will be announced. In this phase, export of boulders has also been allowed to resume in containment mode. All other activities mentioned in the first phase were allowed to continue.