Neten Dorji | Trashigang

Villagers in neighbouring gewogs are concerned with an increasing number of Covid-19 cases in Merak.

Gewog leaders said that they have taken precautions and installed outposts at various road points.

Radhi Gup, Kulung, said that with the virus inching closer, the gewog surveillance team was closely monitoring its border with Merak. “The government is doing everything, but we also urged people to be cautious and follow health protocols regularly.”

He said that they told villagers not to panic and continue their farm work as usual but within family members.

The gewog administration has alerted all tshogpas to be vigilant and report if any highlanders illegally entered into the gewog.

A resident of Radhi, Dorji Khandu, said that highlanders from Merak travel to Trashigang for shopping. “Timely locked down relieved many residents of Radhi.  If not, Covid-19 might have spread in our community too.”

Another resident, Tshering Yangdon said that many people have been cooped up in their homes watching television and spending time with their children.

“To get out of the village is a big deal since cases are increasing in Merak,” she said. “People need to be responsible and follow the health officials’ advice on health and safety.”

Phongmey Gup, Namgyel Wangdi said that around seven people who visited Merak gewog for construction work were home quarantined in the gewog.

“After news of Covid-19 emerged in Merak, people were alert round the clock,” said the gup. “Fear of infection is keeping people at home. We need not impose a lockdown.”

Shongphu Gup, Rinzin Dorji said except for a few, there were no reports of highlanders visiting the villages like in the past. “We ask all primary contacts to visit a nearby flu clinic for the test.”

If the lockdown prolongs, he said, the gewog administration is ready to distribute the essential food items to villagers.

According to the Eastern Covid-19 Taskforce, things were now under control and the positive cases detected at Serkemla under Merak gewog were from tsamdro quarantine. That is equivalent to any other standard quarantine in the country.

“The contact tracing is underway and their travel history is being investigated to ascertain the potential sources to eliminate further transmission,” the task force stated.